US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces are moving thru the Islamic State’s former bastion at Raqqa as now 90 percent of the city has been taken. Their fighters on Monday were slowly recovering communication equipment and weapons used by the ISIS forces in their former command centers.
After battling thru the western edge of the city, the SDF in the vicious no-quarter-given fight were now slowly moving from house-by-house in the search weapons or intelligence left behind by ISIS.
“This neighbourhood was a strategic place for Daesh. Most of their bases were here, including command centres and ammunition depots,” said local SDF commander Gabar Derek, using the Arabic acronym for IS.
Many of the buildings in the area are large stone complexes formerly used by Syria’s government, then taken up as bases by IS before the SDF moved in.
“A few days ago we advanced into a position used by IS and found walkie-talkies. We took out a lot but there was a part we could not remove until today,” said Derek, 25.
As he spoke, his fighters unloaded an armoured vehicle full of dozens of walkie-talkies, military fatigues and boots, a gas mask, rocket-propelled grenades, and even a serrated sword retrieved from the former IS command centre.
The SDF fighters are finding a treasure trove of weapons, equipment and documents as the Islamic State are leaving behind a mountain of gear in an attempt to flee. Radios with frequencies and call-signs and documents will all be gone thru carefully by the group as they finish up the task of evicting ISIS from the last big bastion in Syria.
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