On Thursday, U.S. Central Command announced that the U.S.-backed Syrian Arab Coalition (SAC) and their Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) recaptured of Tabqah, a city that has been under control of ISIS since 2013. Tabqah, located about 30 miles west of ISIS’ de facto capital Raqqa, has been used by the Islamic terror group as a “key coordination hub” used to plan attacks against the West.
According to a statement from U.S. Central Command, approximately 70 ISIS militants surrendered to the SDF on May 10 due to “increased pressure” on the Islamic group to do so. The fighters conceded to the SDF’s terms “which included the dismantling of IEDs surrounding the dam, the surrender of all ISIS heavy weapons, and the forced withdrawal of all remaining fighters from Tabqah City,” the statement said.
The operation to regain control of the city began March 22 by the SAC and SDF with a “surprise aerial infiltration.”
“With its seizure, the coalition has prevented a potential humanitarian disaster and ensured local citizens will continue to receive the dam’s basic services,” the statement said.
Coalition spokesman Col. John Dorrian said in the U.S. Central Command statement that the recapturing of Tabqah is another great victory for the U.S.-backed forces.
“This is yet another victory by the SAC and the SDF, our most committed and capable ground force partners in the fight against ISIS who remain hard at work erasing ISIS from the battlefield, liberating their own people and lands,” Dorrian said.
“The SDF’s success against ISIS demonstrates the power of working by, with and through local partner forces fighting ISIS, among their own people, in their own territory,” he added. “The SDF, fighting to liberate their own people and lands, have freed more than 8,000 square kilometers of Syria from ISIS since November.”