Battle for Raqqa: ISIS using IEDs to impede SDF progress

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Members of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) clearing a village north of Raqqa after ISIS expulsion. Photo: ARA News

ARA News

More than 80 percent of the ISIS attacks against the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have been accomplished by using hidden IEDs, according to officials.

“Fighting in Raqqa continues to be intense, as fanatical ISIS dead-enders and foreign terrorist fighters left to die use the dense urban environment to try to cling to territory,” said Colonel Ryan Dillon, a coalition spokesperson.

“ISIS continues to use the closely spaced buildings and tight streets of the city to hide large improvised explosive devices, attempting to slow the advances of the Syrian Democratic Forces who are clawing away at remaining hiding places.  More than 80 percent of the ISIS attacks against the SDF have been accomplished by using hidden IEDs,” he said.

The US Colonel said the coalition is doing everything to help identify where these IEDs are, these vehicle-borne IEDs, the factories where they are being built and striking them prior to the ability of ISIS to use them.

“And as far as detection of these IEDs, there are capabilities that we have and are using in Raqqa for that purpose,” he added.

However, the coalition official said although there is an increase in use of IEDs, ISIS has no coherent defense to push back.

“We have seen an increase in the amount of IEDs and the booby-traps that ISIS is using within Raqqa.  That said, what we haven’t seen is a coherent defense,” he said.

“And unlike what we have seen in Mosul, as an example, their ability to react as the Syrian Democratic Forces presents and pushes from the different sides and the different areas throughout the city of Raqqa, they have not been able to counter that,” Dillon added.

“The ISIS has not been able to do so. So we will continue to exploit that, and the Syrian Democratic Forces will continue to take ground every single day.  Even from today, there was a good chunk of ground that was taken on the east side between those converging forward lines of troops from the east and west. So, progress is being made every single day,” he said.

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces have so far completed the second month of operations to defeat ISIS in Raqqa, liberating half of the city.

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg | Source: ARA News

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