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Syrian fighters cut key supply route to Daesh-held Raqqa

A member of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), made up of an alliance of Arab and Kurdish fighters, flashes the sign for victory in the village of Sabah al-Khayr on the northern outskirts of Deir Ezzor as they advance to encircle the Daesh group bastion of Raqqa on February 21, 2017. The SDF on Monday cut off a key supply route between Raqqa and Deir Ezzor. (AFP / DELIL SOULEIMAN)

BEIRUT, Lebanon: A: US-backed forces in Syria on Monday cut off a key supply route between the Daesh group’s stronghold Raqqa and its territory in Deir Ezzor province, a commander and a monitor said.
The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters, seized control of the only major road linking Raqqa along the Euphrates valley to Deir Ezzor, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said.
“The route... linking Raqqa to Deir Ezzor was cut this morning,” an SDF commander confirmed.
The SDF launched its offensive for Raqqa — the de facto Syrian capital of Daesh’s so-called caliphate — in early November and has since seized swathes of territory in northern Syria from the jihadists.
Its forces made a major incursion into the oil-rich Deir Ezzor province last month, in a drive to encircle and besiege the jihadists in Raqqa.
Deir Ezzor province lies just east of Raqqa and is almost completely held by Daesh. The jihadists also hold most of the provincial capital of the same name, and have been battling regime forces to overrun the city.
The SDF alliance, dominated by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), has benefitted from air support, equipment and training provided by the US-led coalition that has been carrying out air strikes against Daesh in Syria and neighboring Iraq since 2014.

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