At least 76 militant fighters of the Islamic State (ISIS) were killed in renewed clashes with the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the city of Raqqa, military sources reported on Tuesday.
Clashes broke out in the neighbourhood of al-Baitara, which was recently captured by the US-backed SDF troops.
“ISIS militants attack al-Baitara in an attempt to regain control of the neighbourhood. However, our forces showed heavy resistance in defence of the recently liberated areas,” SDF officer Habun Osman told ARA News at the frontline.
“We were able to repel the attack after causing heavy losses in the ranks of the ISIS terrorist group,” the officer said.
“We have counted 76 dead bodies of ISIS jihadists so far. Dozens of other militants were seriously injured in the clashes on Tuesday,” he told ARA News over the phone.
In the meantime, ISIS militants attacked a SDF checkpoint near the Qadisiyah roundabout in western Raqqa, targeting the location with several mortar shells.
The shelling left three SDF fighters dead and caused the injury of several others.
The Syrian Democratic Forces captured al-Baitara district on Sunday after clashes with ISIS. The US-backed SDF troops earlier captured the districts of al-Mishlab, al-Sabahiya, al-Romaniya, and Sinaa in Raqqa city.
This comes after the SDF launched a major operation to liberate the city of Raqqa from ISIS radicals.
Raqqa has been known as a de facto capital for the ISIS self-proclaimed Caliphate since the summer of 2014.
On June 6, the Syrian Democratic Forces announced the official start of the battle for Raqqa city.
The Kurdish-Arab-Christian alliance of SDF has been isolating Raqqa since November 2016, when the US-backed alliance launched the so-called Euphrates Wrath Operation.
During the first phase of Euphrates Wrath, which began on November 6, 2016, the SDF liberated roughly 560 km² in Northern Raqqa.
On 10 December, 2016, the SDF launched the second phase of the Euphrates Wrath, during which it captured over 2500 km² in Western Raqqa.
On 4 February, 2017, the Syrian Democratic Forces launched the third phase of the Euphrates Wrath Operation, and liberated dozens of villages in Eastern Raqqa from ISIS jihadists.
The campaign is ultimately aimed at liberating the city of Raqqa from ISIS extremists.