YPG says Raqqa assault starts early April
The Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), an armed wing of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), has revealed that the offensive to retake Raqqa from Islamic State (IS) would be launched in early April.

"Regarding the decision to liberate Raqqa and storm it, the matter is decided and at the start of the month of April the military operation will begin,” YPG commander Sipan Hemo told Reuters.

"We believe that liberating Raqqa will not take more than a number weeks,” he claimed.

However, the YPG will be storming Raqqa as part of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which also includes Arab forces and enjoys US support, BasNews said.

"Of the total force for storming Raqqa, 25 percent are YPG, who are set apart in their combat experience and high-level command skills directing battles in cities.”

The Pentagon spokesman, Navy Captain Jeff Davis, told Reuters "We have not made any decisions on how and when we will move in for the liberation of Raqqa.

Asked about Hemo's assessment that it would take weeks, Davis said he would not want to put a timetable on how long the operation could take. Islamic State had had ample time to build defenses, emplacements, fighting positions, and to rig houses and cars with improvised explosive devices, he said, according to the report.

"All of these things await whoever moves in to ultimately liberate Raqqa. And if you compare it to other, similar sized cities in Iraq, you’ve seen that these things do tend to take a bit more time than that,” Davis said.

Reporter’s code: 50101

News Code: 15546  |  Date: 2017/03/18  |  Time: 10 : 37

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