Syrian Army Intends Move into Daesh Stronghold of Raqqa Province: Source

Syrian Army Intends Move into Daesh Stronghold of Raqqa Province: Source

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – The Syrian army intends to advance into ISIL-held Raqqa province having captured positions at the provincial border of the terrorists’ stronghold, a Syrian military source said.

The military source who was briefed on the matter said the operation had been going on for a number days. The army had captured several positions from ISIL at the provincial border between Hama and Raqqa in the last two days, Reuters reported.

"It is an indication of the direction of coming operations towards Raqqa. In general, the Raqqa front is open ... starting in the direction of the Tabqa area," the source said. Tabqa is the location of an air base captured by ISIL in 2014.

The army had moved to within 35 km (20 miles) of the base.

A move into Raqqa province would reestablish a foothold for Damascus in a region where it has had no presence since August 2014, and complicate any attempt by Saudi Arabia to send ground forces to the area to allegedly fight ISIL.

The advances came days after the Syrian forces broke a long-running siege by Takfiri militants on the villages of al-Zahraa and Nubul, northwest of Aleppo.

Al-Zahraa and Nubul had been under siege since July 2012. But their residents vigorously resisted to the invaders.

Syria has been entangled in civil war since March 2011, with Takfiri terrorist groups like Daesh controlling parts of it, mostly in the east.

In the past five years, more than 250,000 people have died in Syria - overwhelmingly civilians - and around 4 million Syrians are now refugees in other countries. Around 8 million others have been displaced internally.

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