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International coalition: 40,000 fighters prepared to isolate Raqqa

The remains of a mosque after being hit by airstrikes in Raqqa, Syria [file photo]
The remains of the Hinni Mosque, seen after being hit by Syrian regime airstrikes against Daesh, in Raqqa, Syria on November 25, 2014 [Anadolu Agency]

The international coalition to fight Daesh revealed the presence of 40,000 fighters ready to besiege Raqqa in north Syria in preparation to regain control of the area.

The Syrian Democratic Forces, led by the Kurdish People's Protection Units, announced yesterday that it would lead the Raqqa operation without the participation of Turkey.

Spokesman for the US-led international coalition, Colonel John Dorrian, said during a press conference via closed-circuit video today that there are sufficient troops for the planned Raqqa operation.

In this context, the US Department of Defence is planning to isolate the city of Raqqa by using Syrian Democratic Forces fighters.

In response to the question regarding who will be blocking the roads leading to the city from the south, while the Syrian Democratic Forces are putting pressure on Daesh in the north, Dorrian said that there would be a large number of Arab forces in the area, as the coalition intends to train the largest number of fighters possible.

There have been differences between Turkey and the US regarding the involvement of the Kurdish People's Protection Units in the operation as part of the Syrian Democratic Units. Turkey completely objects to this considering it a threat to its border and national security.

In this regard, the international coalition spokesperson stated that talks are ongoing between the US and its allies in the coalition in order to make a decision regarding who will enter Raqqa and take control after it is recaptured.

US Secretary of Defence Ashton Carter said yesterday that the operation to besiege Raqqa, which is considered Daesh's main stronghold, would be executed soon, noting that the meetings with Turkish officials are on-going regarding the role to be played by Ankara.

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