Kurdish-backed fighters capture key IS stronghold in Syria

The Kurdish-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on Friday captured the city of Shadadi, the main stronghold of the Islamic State (IS) group in Syria’s northeastern province of al-Hasakah, a monitor group reported.

The SDF capture of Shadadi in the southern countryside of al-Hasakah came after three days of intense battles against the IS, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The UK-based watchdog group said the city was stormed by the SDF from two main routes, namely the town of al-Houl and the Mount Abdul-Aziz in the southwestern countryside of al-Hasakah.

It added that the battles were coupled with airstrikes carried out by the U.S.-led anti-terror coalition.

A day earlier, the SDF cut a strategic supply line for the IS between Syria’s northern province of al-Raqqa and the Iraqi city of Mosul, the Observatory reported.

The SDF cut the IS strategic supply line in Shadadi, which connects al-Raqqa, the de facto capital of the terror group, with its stronghold in Iraq’s northern city of Mosul.

The SDF progress in the northeastern province of al-Hasakah, namely in Shadadi, has enabled them to cut the supply line between Shadadi and Mosul and Shadadi-al-Raqqa.

The SDF, an alliance of Kurdish, Syrian Arab, Assyrian Syriac Christian and Turkmen militias in cooperation with the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), said their aim is to fight the IS in northern Syria.

The SDF, which is supported by the airstrikes of the U.S.-led anti-terror coalition, has been making notable gains in al-Hasakah and the northern Aleppo province near Turkey.

Turkish officials recently said that they will not allow the Kurds to take Azaz, a main stronghold for the Turkey-backed militants in Aleppo.

Earlier this week, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Turkey’s shelling against Kurdish areas in northern Syria had succeeded in halting the YPG advance toward Azaz.

He further pledged the “harshest reaction” if the YPG tried inch closer to the town, which is of strategic importance for Turkey as it’s the main conduit of support from Turkey to the rebels inside the city of Aleppo.

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