Europe

Syria Kurds announce start of campaign to retake Raqqa

  • This frame grab from video provided by Arab 24 network, shows officials with the U.S.-backed Syria Democratic Forces at a press conference in Ein Issa in northern Syria. U.S.-backed Kurdish-led Syrian forces announced their plan Sunday to retake the Islamic State group's de facto capital of Raqqa, saying they hoped Turkey would not "interfere in internal Syrian affairs." (Arab 24 network, via AP)

    This frame grab from video provided by Arab 24 network, shows officials with the U.S.-backed Syria Democratic Forces at a press conference in Ein Issa in northern Syria. U.S.-backed Kurdish-led Syrian forces announced their plan Sunday to retake the Islamic State group's de facto capital of Raqqa, saying they hoped Turkey would not "interfere in internal Syrian affairs." (Arab 24 network, via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • Brett McGurk, the White House envoy to the U.S.-led military coalition against the Islamic State group, speaks during a press conference at the U.S. Embassy in Amman, Jordan, Sunday, Nov. 6, 2016. McGurk said the U.S. will provide air support for an offensive to retake the Syrian city of Raqqa, the de facto capital of the Islamic State extremist group. Brett McGurk spoke to reporters in Jordan after the offensive was announced Sunday by the Syria Democratic Forces, a Kurdish-led group with Arab fighters. The envoy says the U.S. is also in “close, close contact” with its ally Turkey. (Karin Laub/AP Photo)

    Brett McGurk, the White House envoy to the U.S.-led military coalition against the Islamic State group, speaks during a press conference at the U.S. Embassy in Amman, Jordan, Sunday, Nov. 6, 2016. McGurk said the U.S. will provide air support for an offensive to retake the Syrian city of Raqqa, the de facto capital of the Islamic State extremist group. Brett McGurk spoke to reporters in Jordan after the offensive was announced Sunday by the Syria Democratic Forces, a Kurdish-led group with Arab fighters. The envoy says the U.S. is also in “close, close contact” with its ally Turkey. (Karin Laub/AP Photo)  (The Associated Press)

  • This frame grab from video provided by Arab 24 network, shows officials with the U.S.-backed Syria Democratic Forces at a press conference in Ein Issa in northern Syria. U.S.-backed Kurdish-led Syrian forces announced their plan Sunday to retake the Islamic State group's de facto capital of Raqqa, saying they hoped Turkey would not "interfere in internal Syrian affairs." (Arab 24 network, via AP)

    This frame grab from video provided by Arab 24 network, shows officials with the U.S.-backed Syria Democratic Forces at a press conference in Ein Issa in northern Syria. U.S.-backed Kurdish-led Syrian forces announced their plan Sunday to retake the Islamic State group's de facto capital of Raqqa, saying they hoped Turkey would not "interfere in internal Syrian affairs." (Arab 24 network, via AP)  (The Associated Press)

U.S.-backed Kurdish-led Syrian forces have announced the start of a campaign to retake the Islamic State's de facto capital of Raqqa from the extremist group.

The announcement by the Syria Democratic Forces was made Sunday at a press conference in Ein Issa, north of Raqqa.

It comes more than two weeks after U.S.-backed Iraqi forces began a campaign to clear IS militants from their stronghold in Mosul, Iraq.

The SDF is dominated by the main Syrian Kurdish fighting force known as the People's Protection Units, or YPG.

The United States considers the Syrian Kurdish fighters as the most effective force against the IS, but Turkey views them as a terror organization and has said it will not accept a role for the Kurds in the liberation of Raqqa.