Syrian government forces have entered the province of Raqqa, where the ISIS headquarter is located, for the first time since 2014, according to the exile group SOHR.
Syrian regime forces have received substantial help from violent Russian air strikes during the offensive. In recent days, they have advanced steadily to the Tabqa dam in the Euphrates. It is located about 40 km from the city of Raqqa, the capital of the province, with the same name and which in practice functions as IS' 'capital'.
On Saturday, Bashar al-Assad's army entered into the province of Raqqa for the first time since IS conquered large areas of northern Syria in 2014, reported the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) today.
- The regime's troops, backed by Russian airstrikes and Russian-trained militia, entered into the Raqqa province Saturday morning, said SOHR director Rami Abdul Rahman to AFP.
Concurrently with Assad's forces having started their offensive against Raqqa, the US-backed Kurdish forces advanced into the province from the north.
The city of Raqqa, with several hundred thousand inhabitants was conquered by the extremist Islamist group IS early in 2014. Syrian government forces have not had any presence in the Raqqa province since August of that year, when IS conquered Tabqa in violent fights that cost the lives of several hundred Syrian soldiers.
If the current offensive proves successful, it would mean that ISIS is about to get defeated in Raqqa and lose its "capital" in Syria.
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