The YPG-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) took control of the city of Tabqa in rural Raqqa province on Thursday after nearly 50 days of fighting against IS group and with major support from United States aircraft.
The faction of Soqur al-Raqqa of the Syrian Democratic Frces on Wednesday announced to seize control over the city of Tabqa entirely and the Syria’s greatest dam on the Euphrates river asserting that in a footage released on the Forces’ official website.
The militia’s spoksman Talal Silo told Reuters that they were able to control the city of Tabqa and thanked to the sacrifices of the heroes and heroines of Syria's democratic forces, as well as the full and unlimited support by the United States-led coalition." for his part, the militia adviser Nasser Haj Mansour said that the city of Tabqa and the dam, which is the largest one in Syria, were completely liberated after IS group was expelled from the region.
Brett McGuirek, the US special presidential envoy for the Global Alliance Against IS Group, tweeted "Tabqa has been captured."
Ambiguity hovering behind the details of the battle’s end
The battles of Tabqa city and the Euphrates dam were not as the same as the battles had erupted against IS organization launched by SDF militias in terms of ease and speed of control. On the contrary, the battle was exhausted for each sides, despite the latter's imposition of a blockade and the United States and Britain providing huge air support. Because the group’s militiants were besieged, the process of control will be only to eliminate all militants were there or to hold an agreement with them to exit from the region, which was denied by militias to do earlier in by the official mouthpiece of the Euphrates operation Jihan Sheikh Ahmed.
On 10th. April SDF militias began actually making progress towards the city of Tabqa after the siege imposed on the city, capturing the city’s district of Alexandria through the attack on the eastern and western fronts and then began to crawl inside the city to control six neighborhoods the days after, namely " al-Mahajea’ al-Bosaraya, Aboaish, Assyrian Church, al-Kasara and al-Mashar”. "However, as it progressed within the city, it suffered great losses in lives and equipment through the counter-attacks of the IS organization’s militants and the use of booby-traps and explosive devices as well as the suicide operations carried out forcing militias to stop operations and re-immunize the newly-controlled neighborhoods.
At the beginning of this month, the militias launched new military operations after bringing in human reinforcements and pushing them into the battle. This period witnessed heavy air strikes of the International Coalition, which claimed the lives of many civilians, killing of at least 70 civilians in two massacres and 20 others in one massacre took place in Palestine Street, while the rest of the massacres were not documented because the victims remained under the rubble.
The battles in early May focused on the first, second and third neighborhoods and then moved to National Hospital area to be declared the controlling over on the 7th. of this month after the killing of an Amir in the organization, Abu Muhammad al-Qahtani. During these operations, it was documented the use of remote- drone by the IS group and “Amaaq” IS-Agency – announced the targeting of vehicles of Kurdish protection units and destroying others in the vicinity of Tabqa in rural Riqqa.
Unknown fate of hundreds of IS group militants
The IS militants’ number, as confirmed by identical sources to nearly 650 ones ,about 340 of them were killed during the month and a half, and therefore about 300 are still unaccounted for, but identical sources the existence of a deal between the SDF militias and the organization to remove the latter from Tabqa with light arms to Raqqa for the cessation of shelling on the city and this is what has been recorded during the past two days where the remaining neighborhoods in the city did not witness any aerial bombardment of the International Alliance, but strikes on the outskirt only, as confirmed by field sources.
Thus, the battle of Tabqa and the Euphrates Dam did not end militarily, but under an agreement between the two parties according to information that has been confirmed by many field sources.
American arms rewarding the YPG on Tabqa
Donald Trump has ordered arms to the YPG militia in Syria on the pretext of accelerating the war on IS group, the Pentagon said yesterday. YPG-opponent observers suggest that the announcement coincides with the militia's control over Tabqa provided by America as a reward and confirmation of Washington's continued support for the militias despite the opposition of the US ally (Turkey) for that.
Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Noureddine Ganpqali rejected the decision to arm the militias, saying it was unacceptable, despite of Washington’s assurances trying to calm Turkey's concerns. Pentagon said the arms resolution aimed at helping fighters "to win in Raqqa."
YPG: The American Armament Decision is a historic step
The official spokesman of the Kurdish protection units said that the US decision to arm them is a historic decision by which it will "play a more influential, powerful and decisive role in the fight against terrorism at a high pace. This decision and the implementation of its requirements and its obligations will give a strong and fast impetus to all the democratic forces that fight terrorism. "
"This right decision to arm our units shows the falsity of all the allegations that have promoted fake news on our units and forces to distort their image and reduce the importance of their role in the fight against terrorism" the spokesman added.
The Tabqa battle has ended up, which caused a huge media uproar during which the period that exceeded 50 days, where the focus was on the victories of the militias while the massacres committed against the trapped civilians were disregarded.
Obviously, by now the number of victims or even the number of people trapped and their fate is still unknown, and the end of the battle will reopen the door for a larger and more brutal battle will concentrate on the defacto capital of the organization "Raqqa", in which the number of inhabitants according to the latest statistics of nearly two million people.