Syrian Democratic Forces in fierce clashes with rebel fighters

Many dead as Syrian rebels and Kurdish fighters clash, while Raqqa battle rages on
2 min read
14 June, 2017
Kurdish and Syrian fighters have clashed in Aleppo province leaving many dead, while the battle against IS in Raqqa rages on.
Syrian Democratic Forces are battling rebels in Aleppo and IS in Raqqa [AFP]
Fierce clashes have broken out between Syrian rebels and Kurdish factions in Aleppo province, as the Syrian Democratic Forces battle the Islamic State group in Raqqa.

Fighting took place in Derat Ezza in western Aleppo countryside on Tuesday, after Kurdish fighters attempted to take a rebel base in the area, opposition media reported.

At least 11 rebel fighters were killed in the surprise attack on Derat Ezza by the Syrian Democratic Forces who are also leading the assault on IS-held Raqqa city, Zamn al-Wasl reported.

The assault was thwarted after the rebels regained the positions with support from Turkish artillery, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The territory lies close to the Turkish border, while other parts of Aleppo province has also seen repeated clashes between rebel, regime, Kurdish and IS forces despite a ceasefire being in place.

Pro-regime media have reported an uptick in fighting over the past two days and claimed the SDF assault was sparked by rebel raids on Kurdish checkpoints.

They reported at least 32 fighters from Ahrar al-Sham and other rebel groups were killed in the clashes, while dozens of Kurdish militants also died in fighting.

The Syrian Democratic Forces are driving deeper into Raqqa in eastern Syria - the self-declared "capital" of IS from the east and west.

The combined Kurdish-Arab force has won quick victories in the battle for Raqqa but could face stiffer resistance as they approach the heavily defended Old City.

They are being supported by US airpower and special forces in the assault while Washington recently dispatched weapons to the Kurdish-led group.