On Wednesday a statement from a United States official said that Syrian fighters have begun a major operation to take back a very important dam. The dam is located near Raqqa, in Syria and is currently being held by ISIS forces. United States forces are reportedly helping the fighters with this mission. The same official stated that a big air assault also took place and it involved United States helicopters landing behind enemy lines. The role of the helicopters was to fly about 500 United States allies and military advisers over the Euphrates River and the Lake Assad. There, they were able to attack the dam from the South, and the nearby town and airfield.
The first air assault
According to what Col. Joseph Scrocca declared during a call with reporters from Baghdad, on Wednesday, this was the very first time the United States forces conducted an air attack alongside the Syrian Arab Coalition and Syrian Democratic Forces. The assault happened behind enemy lines and was reportedly extremely dangerous. The helicopters reportedly carried about 500 troops behind enemy lines. The air attack also involved some U.S. Marines who fired M777 howitzers and air strikes by Apache helicopters. However, Scrocca said that fighting will continue because ISIS still holds control over that area, even after the attack. There may be entire weeks of fighting until they will abandon that area.
He stated that they took ISIS by surprise with the attack. They did not know how to react. However, fighters are reportedly still there, both United States allies and the Syrian Democratic Forces. It was a violent attack and a very courageous one. They are reportedly happy they succeeded.
This very important dam is near Raqqa, 25 miles West. ISIS has declared the city of Raqqa their capital and has been under their occupation since 2013. Raqqa also provides electric power to a very large area of Syria. The Syrian forces along with their allies want to do everything they can to take back the dam. They are seeing this as a crucial step towards isolating Raqqa and then, taking it back too.
Earlier this month, United States marines arrived in Syria. Their aim is to help the U.S.-backed Arab and Kurdish forces in the area. However, because of security reasons, the Pentagon or the Marine Corps did not release a statement about the deployment. According to many United States officials, the pressure on ISIS has begun working, especially in Raqqa. Intelligence reports are showing that many ISIS leaders and agents are continuously trying to get away from the city. Still, getting into the city will be difficult. Reports are showing that the city is full of wired traps, IED’s, tunnels, and trenches full of bombs. A United States official specified that nobody thinks that retaking Raqqa will mean ending ISIS. Not at all. Still, it is a very important step in the fight against terrorism.
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