US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces urge ISIS in Raqqa to surrender by end May

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Soldiers of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) gathered ahead of a press conference in western Raqqa. Photo: ARA News

ARA News

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on Thursday called on Islamic State’s (ISIS) militants in Raqqa city to surrender by the end of May.

“No harm would come to the group’s [ISIS] fighters in Raqqa who turned themselves in by the end of the month,” the SDF said in a statement, calling on them to lay down their arms ahead of an expected assault on the city.

Raqqa is a de facto capital for the ISIS self-proclaimed Caliphate–announced in the summer of 2014.

SDF spokeswoman Jihan Sheikh Ahmed said that they would guarantee the lives of militants who turn themselves in, regardless of their position. The safety of ISIS militants’ families was also guaranteed.

“This would allow the greatest number possible of those who were deceived or forced to join ISIS to benefit from this opportunity,” she said.

The US-backded Syrian Democratic Forces imposed a heavy siege on ISIS militants inside Raqqa city, after launching a major offensive in November to encircle and capture the city.

The SDF, which includes the powerful Kurdish YPG force, said earlier this month it expects to launch the final assault on Raqqa in early summer.

The US-led coalition has not declared any time frame for the final assault on Raqqa city.

Reporting by: Helin Saeed

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