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U.S.-Backed Syrian Forces To Push On Raqqa In Early Summer, Await Weapons

A member of the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces removes an Islamic State flag in the town of Tabqa, west of Raqqa city, in late April.

Commanders of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) say they will launch an assault to retake the Islamic State (IS) stronghold of Raqqa in early summer.

"I believe entering and storming the city will happen at the start of the summer," Abdul Qader Hevdeli said on May 12 in the town of Tabqa, which the U.S.-backed SDF captured this week from IS militants.

Another commander, Rojda Felat, said the assault would likely start in June, AFP news agency reported.

The comments come after U.S. President Donald Trump gave his authorization to equip the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, the SDF’s most powerful element, to help in the Raqqa assault.

"I believe these weapons or this support will arrive soon," Hevdeli said.

The U.S. decision has infuriated Turkey, which considers the YPG as a terrorist group.

Based on reporting by AP, AFP, and Reuters