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NEWS | Nov. 7, 2016

Lt. Gen. Townsend statement on SDF advance to isolate Raqqah

By Lt. Gen Stephen J. Townsend Combined Joint Forces Land Component Command – Operation Inherent Resolve

The Syrian Democratic Forces announced that they began their advance to isolate Raqqah, Syria, Nov. 6, 2016. The Coalition is supporting the SDF by providing air and advise and assist support. The Arab element of the SDF is indigenous to the area and will help establish regional support for SDF operations.

The isolation of Raqqah, when complete, will liberate strategically valuable terrain surrounding Raqqah and enable the liberation of the city. Ultimately, the liberation of Raqqah will free Syrians to return to a life free from Islamic State of Iraq and Levant atrocities and deny ISIL a safe haven to plot external attacks against the West.

The Combined Joint Task Force – Inherent Resolve Commander, Lt. Gen. Stephen J. Townsend, provided the following statement on the SDF advance:

"The Syrian Democratic Forces have begun their operation to isolate the city of Raqqah and other ISIL-held territory in Syria. In addition to setting conditions for the ultimate liberation of Raqqah, ISIL’s self-proclaimed capital, the operation will also cut off militants from ISIL in Mosul, Iraq. Throughout each phase of the campaign to liberate Raqqah, the Coalition will continually consult with allies and partners as we plan for the city’s ultimate seizure and governance once ISIL is defeated. We are confident that this next phase will continue the momentum that the Coalition and our partners have achieved, and that together we will deliver ISIL a lasting defeat."