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BEIRUT – U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish fighters say they expect to push on and capture the Islamic State group's de facto capital of Raqqa in northern Syria this summer, after receiving heavy weapons from the U.S. military.
The force — known as Syrian Democratic Forces — has been buoyed following this week's capture of the key town of Tabqa and the nearby dam, Syria's largest. The advance left no significant IS-held urban settlements between SDF lines and Raqqa.
An SDF commander, identified only as Abdelqader, declined to specify dates at a press conference on Friday, citing tactical reasons.
The announcement is a snub to Turkey, which doesn't want the Syrian Kurdish-led force to take the city, offering its own troops instead. Ankara is also enraged by U.S. plans to arm the Syrian Kurds.