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Syrian milita nears full capture of Tabqa city, dam

By Andrew V. Pestano
Syrian milita nears full capture of Tabqa city, dam
The Syrian Democratic Forces will launch an offensive to capture the city of Raqqa after capturing Tabqa, where two neighborhoods are left to seize in the battle against the Islamic State. File Photo by Sedat Suna/EPA

May 10 (UPI) -- The U.S.-led international coalition said the Syrian Democratic Forces militia has freed the majority of the Syrian city of Tabqa and its nearby dam from the Islamic State.

U.S. Air Force Col. John L. Dorrian, U.S. spokesman for the U.S.-led anti-Islamic State international coalition called the Combined Joint Task Force: Operation Inherent Resolve, made the announcement during a webcast press conference on Wednesday.

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"The Syrian Democratic Forces ... have successfully liberated the vast majority of Tabqa and they continue to clear ISIS remnants from the final two neighborhoods of the city," Dorrian said, using an acronym for the Islamic State. "Tabqa is an extremely dangerous battlezone. As they advance, SDF forces encounter ISIS snipers who are using apartment buildings, hospitals and mosques in the dense urban terrain to mask their positions."

Dorrian said the SDF fully isolated IS fighters in the Taqba dam, the largest dam in Syria which is a key source of electricity for the region, from the rest of the city.

The SDF seeks to surround and isolate Raqqa, considered the IS capital, before launching an offensive to recapture the city, similar to what Iraqi security forces did in their offensive on Mosul.

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"After Tabqah is completely liberated, the SDF and coalition forces will continue operations to isolate and seize Raqqa," the coalition said in a statement.

The coalition on Wednesday said airstrikes have destroyed numerous Islamic State boats and barges in Raqqa this week.

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