A Syrian Democratic Forces(SDF) fighter poses for a picture near Euphrates River, north of Raqqa city, Syria March 8, 2017. REUTERS/Rodi Said
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The head of the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia said a U.S.-backed assault to drive ISIS from its de-facto capital Raqqa would begin at the start of April and the YPG would be taking part, despite fierce opposition from neighboring Turkey.A spokesman for the U.S. Pentagon, Navy Captain Jeff Davis, said no decision had been made yet on the Raqqa offensive, which is part of a two pronged attempt to dismantle the caliphate declared by ISIS in parts of Syria and Iraq in 2014 .U.S.-backed forces, including the YPG, are closing in on the city and President Donald Trump has said he wants to accelerate efforts to crush the hardline militants, who are under siege by U.S.-backed Iraqi forces in the much larger city of Mosul.Hemo said YPG militia would storm Raqqa alongside Arab fighters in the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).The U.S.-led coalition last week announced that a Marines artillery unit had been deployed to Syria to help accelerate the campaign to defeat ISIS at Raqqa, adding to some 500 U.S. forces already in Syria.The YPG forms the military backbone of autonomous enclaves carved out by Kurdish groups in northern Syria since the start of the conflict in 2011 .Syrian President Bashar Assad has previously opposed the idea of federalism says the state will reclaim all of Syria.
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