World

Backed forces seize new district from IS in Raqqa

Backed forces seize new district from IS in Raqqa

The SDF, a collection of Kurdish, Arab and Assyrian fighters led by the Kurdish YPG group, said the IS is "obviously collapsing" in Raqqa, which has been under the wide-scale offensive of the SDF and USA airstrikes since June 6.

Asked whether the U.S. would also try to recover weapons, Mattis said, "We'll do what we can". "We'll do what we can", he told reporters traveling with him to Germany.

Mattis said that US forces would continue to defend themselves and their partners if attacked but that the U.S.is not offensively targeting any fighters there except ISIS.

Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) fighters walk with their weapons at the eastern entrances to the town of Tal Abyad in the northern Raqqa countryside, Syria, June 14, 2015, after taking control of nearby Suluk town from ISIS fighters.

Ankara considers the YPG as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which is outlawed in Turkey and is also considered a "terrorist group" by the U.S. and the European Union.

"The ones who think they are tricking Turkey by saying they are going to get back the weapons that are being given to this terrorist organisation will realise that they are making a mistake eventually", he said.

"We'll be recovering them during the battle, repairing them, when they don't need certain things any more they'll replace those with some things they do need, that sort of thing", he said.

The PKK, designated a "terrorist" group by the United States, the European Union and Turkey, has been waging an insurgency in southeastern Turkey since the 1980s.




USA officials have been careful not to publicly detail the amount or specific types of weapons going to the Syrian Kurds.

The initial weapons deliveries began at the end of May, and the Pentagon said they included small arms and ammunition.

"Once we call the liberation, or once Raqqa has been liberated, then we have to see, then, where else is there to go, where else is there ISIS-held territory", he said.

The PKK has targeted security forces and civilians in the region for decades.

Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov says that "such threats to Syria's legitimate leaders are unacceptable".

The U.S. will not slide into an expanded role in Syria's civil war despite recent incidents that led to U.S. warplanes firing on pro-regime forces there, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said Monday.

US-led coalition aircraft have allegedly bombed a prison in Syria killing dozens of civilians.


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