Syria Daily: Kurds-Led SDF Claims Another Dam Near Raqqa

FILE PHOTO: Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters hold up their weapons in the north of Raqqa city, Syria February 3, 2017. REUTERS/Rodi Said/File Photo

The Kurdish-led, US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces said on Sunday that they have taken another major dam on the Euphrates River in northern Syria, as they close on the Islamic State’s central position of Raqqa.

The SDF said they took the Baath Dam, renaming it Freedom Dam, 22 km (14 miles) upstream of Raqqa. A spokesman for the YPG militia, which leads the SDF, said fighters were combing nearby villages for mines.

The SDF completed the capture of Tabqa Dam, 40 km (25 miles) west of Raqqa, last month. The forces now hold Syria’s largest three dams, all on the Euphrates.

Supported by US airstrikes, special forces, and weapons, the SDF finally began a significant offensive towards Raqqa this spring after months of political wrangling. Turkey objects to the involvement of the YPG, believing it to be part of the Turkish Kurdish insurgency PKK.

SDF spokesman Nouri Mahmoud said on Sunday that the operation to Raqqa will start in a few days.

More than 200,000 people have been displaced from fighting in the area, and hundreds killed, including by US airstrikes.

TOP PHOTO: Syrian Democratic Forces fighters north of Raqqa, February 3, 2017 (Rodi Said/Reuters)

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Scott Lucas is Professor of International Politics at the University of Birmingham and editor-in-chief of EA WorldView. He is a specialist in US and British foreign policy and international relations, especially the Middle East and Iran. Formerly he worked as a journalist in the US, writing for newspapers including the Guardian and The Independent and was an essayist for The New Statesman before he founded EA WorldView in November 2008.


  1. Epic ISIS resistance in Mosul against overwhelming forces, Saddam´s and Gaddafi´s ridicule regimes collapsed against a tiny fraction of this firepower. The Taliban and ISIS still resists (no wonder why they are deeply hated by all the anti-imperialist milieu):

    “There was fighting across the front in Mosul. The Federal Police gave conflicting numbers again about its progress in Zinjali. One report said they held 65%. Federal Police commander General Raed Shakir Jawadat had it at 60%. Yesterday they claimed it was at 75-85%. The Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) were still attempting to capture the medical center in Shifa. It was taken a few days ago, but the Islamic State forced the Iraqi forces out. The insurgents also launched a large assault upon the Bab al-Bob, Bab al-Jadid and Bab Lakash entrances to the Old City in the early morning, but were turned back. The ISF has to make announcements of success every day. It is part of the government’s propaganda campaign. The problem is that it’s not a coordinated effort and there is plenty of exaggeration and sometimes make believe going on. That’s the reason why there are always conflicting statements and claims about advances.

    Yesterday a Kurdish satellite TV channel filmed what looked like a white phosphorus attack either by the Iraqis or U.S. led Coalition. The Joint Operations Command denied that it was phosphorus saying it was smoke used by the Coalition. At the same time, the command banned all live broadcasts of the Mosul battle in reaction, and threatened legal action against anyone breaking the new rule. As the Mosul campaign is coming to a conclusion the ISF has become more and more sensitive about any negative stories. It continuously complains about television stations, the media in general, and social networks for spreading fake news and promoting stories spread by the Islamic State. Unfortunately, in doing so it has denied real events such as the Jadida bombing, which it refused to acknowledge was the result of a Coalition air strike and put out two disinformation stories to the media. Again, the victory narrative promoted by the government is the root cause of these attacks upon the press.”

      • Simply because they are much more better than them in what they do. Cuban marxists, for example, have a deep hatred against the Taliban (because of the punish inflicted by them to their soviet masters).

        • I did read an article written by a tankie that advocates support for the Islamic State against US & allies.
          Regardless, whatever the numbers of IS-supporting anti-imperialists, they’re very much negligible.

            • “An immense gulf divides us from the Islamic State in the spheres of ideology, culture, tactics and strategy, and we do not agree with all its fighting methods, actions and goals. But we have an essential point in common—the unwavering struggle against imperialism. This point at the moment transcends any other difference that may exist, and it is the pivot of our de facto anti-imperialist alliance.”

              He is right but mainstream marxists are too stupid to understand that.

              • It’s too much of a baggage for most radical leftists. Being an apologist for brutal communist regimes is nowhere near as taboo as supporting the Islamic State, which is roughly on par with being an outspoken racial supremacist today. Then there is the astrosexual polygender LGBT+ alphabet soup that doesn’t care for a class war unless it’s an intersectional class war. They’re a very loud voice in today’s left that doesn’t care much for anything but themselves.

            • Tundra – the Marxists are enamoured with the Islamists. You can easily tell that from the glowing things they write about Islam and Islamic activists. The Feminist and LGBT societies of the U of London support the Islamist association (who place their women at the back of the room) to no-platform ex-Muslims and liberal Muslims.

              On Facebook discussion groups, the Marxists and regressive Leftists are lockstep with the Islamists and goad them on. They give them moral and intellectual support. They defend the most backward Islamic fundamentalists who attack the critics with profanity and insults.

              And a new phenomena: Marxists and regressives are converting to Islam. This trend has been picking up steam and with every atrocity, more leftists convert to Islam. It is not just that they want to show solidarity with the marginalized. They actually come to believe in Islam and I know a few who are pushing for a “communist caliphate”. It is so stupid, but that is how cultural Marxism is evolving.

              • Progs/Marxists being buddies with Islamists isn’t uncommon, but with Salafi-jihadist groups is very much so. The above excerpt stands out because it fully acknowledges that their ideology inclines them to support the Islamic State. It doesn’t whitewash them or rationalize their decision. Those groups you mention tend to gloss over islamist practices of groups they support, rather than acknowledging them and justifying their accord. The most “hardline” groups (IS & AQ) are kept beyond the pale as they’re very much anathema to the overwhelming majority of people. Instead, they use US intervention in Libya, support of the anti-Soviet fighters in Afghanistan, and involvement in Syria to conjure up some fantasy jihadist-imperialist alliance so they can rid themselves of the quandary where they can either support the Great Imperialist Satan or a bunch of fiercely independent but deeply reactionary brown people that are detested by pretty much everyone in the West.

        • But that is not what I observe, Buenos Aires. The Marxists and hard leftists have a deep love of Islam and many are converting to Islam. They actually believe in Islamism and Jihadism. The biggest apologists for Islamic terrorism, aside from the Salafis and Islamics themselves, are the Marxists and the cultural Left.
          They consider Islamists and even terrorists as comrades in arm with the same goal of fighting imperialism, and destroying liberal democracy. There are so many ideological commonalities between them. In fact they love the way the Islamics manage to brainwash children, and surely they will emulate it. 1950 or 1960 era analysis of communism does not work anymore. Communists are now religious and bond with Islamic radicals and provide them all sorts of support. Ever since Islam has turned against the west, the Left have forgiven them for their collusion with the capitalists in the 60s and 70s.

          • Yes they tend to support islamism (wich is not exactly the same thing as ISIS or Al-qaeda). Honestly, I had never heard about any mainstream leftist (or marxist) figure or group standing up for ISIS cause, 99% of them adhere to the classic conspiracy dogma (ISIS and al-Qaeda are US´s stooges).

            The same thing happended in WW2, communist propaganda claimed that (somehow) the nazis and the yankees were on the same side (YPG´s bots refere to ISIS as “fascists”!). There´s a tendency in the anti-imperialism milieu to denounce as an imperialist stooge any entity wich doesn´t pay them allegiance (e.g Trotsky).

            • They are very jealous of their anti-imperialist status. Remember Highlander?, “there can be only one”.

  2. #International: “The #UAE & #Saudi are demanding that #Qatar 1. Shuts Aljazeera 2. Expels prominent secularist thinker Azmi Bishara 3. Shuts Alarabi TV . 4. Expels religious leader Yusuf Alqaradawi 5. Expels the wife of an Emirati opposition figure. These are just some of the demands” – JamalsNews
    It’s obvious to me the recent (artificial?) spat between SaudiArabia/UAE with Qatar is an artificially engineered spat to coerce Hamas out of Qatar in order to create (preceded by official recognition – say bye bye for GCC solidarity for Palestine as well as the transference of the THAAD anti-missile system by the US) a formal anti-Iranian military alliance between Israel and the GCC with American backing. Though how quickly Qatar buckles depends on how much Turkey and Oman are willing to lift the siege (because that’s what it is – Qatar is entirely dependent upon the Gulf states for it’s food supply) placed on Qatar. Erdogan should realise that the UAE leadership despises him and if Qatar falls (ie has a regime change) there’ll be no longer close ties with Qatar and Turkey.

    • Isn’t it time to stop Qatar and Turkey in their support of Al Qaeda (and ISIS)? GCC solidarity for Palestine? Palestine is a terror state and deserves no solidarity. They have had 50 years to make peace with Israel and they still want to kill all the Jews in Israel. Until Palestinians make peace, they do not deserve a square meter of land in the West Bank. Sorry, but that is international law.

    • But the Turkish army is 100 times stronger than the entire Gulf’s combined the Gulf can’t do anything to them.

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