The western neighborhood of al-Dariya in Raqqa city on September 5. Photo: Delil Souleiman | AFP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) announced they are continuing to advance into the center of Raqqa city where they have been thwarting car bomb and suicide attacks.
"And within that frame, the clashes are continuing since last night between the Syrian Democratic fighters and the ISIS mercenaries at the surrounding areas of al-Watani hospital and the Rashid garden located in al-Amin neighborhood that is in the city center," SDF detailed in a statement late on Tuesday night.
The SDF, half of whose forces are members of the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), are backed by the US-led Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS.
Conflict monitor Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported on Wednesday the SDF backed by US Special Forces were flushing ISIS militants out of al-Thankanah neighborhood.
The movements are "an attempt to clamp down more on the organization within what remains for the organization within the city," according to the UK-based monitor.
SOHR also reported "minimizing ISIS organization's scope of control" has meant an escalation of aerial bombing in areas within, north, and south of the city.
The spokesperson for the coalition tweeted on Tuesday that "SDF hold more than 60 percent of Raqqa; 35 blocks cleared of ISIS this week..."
In addition to Raqqa campaign that began on June 6 and was part of Wrath of the Euphrates, the SDF began a Jazira Storm operation on Saturday, advancing into parts of the city within the first day.
The Syrian Arab Army, backed by Russia and Iran, has simultaneous operations ongoing in Deir ez-Zor.
The US-led Coalition told Rudaw English that as of Tuesday, SDF partner forces "have liberated approximately 42,000 square-kilometers in Syria" which is estimated to be "77 percent of the territory previously held by ISIS."
Raqqa was the ISIS group's self-declared capital.