August 25, 2016 / 9:46 AM / 2 years ago

U.S.-led alliance says Syrian force withdraws to prepare for Raqqa campaign

BEIRUT (Reuters) - The Kurdish-backed Syrian Democratic Forces have withdrawn across the Euphrates river to prepare for “the eventual liberation” of Raqqa, a city held by Islamic State, a spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition against the militant group said on Thursday.

SDF officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

“The Syrian Democratic Forces have moved east across the Euphrates to prepare for the eventual liberation of Raqqa,” the spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve wrote on his Twitter feed.

The SDF had moved west of the Euphrates as part of a U.S.-backed operation to capture the city of Manbij from Islamic State. Turkey had demanded the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, a critical part of the SDF, return to the east bank of the river.

Writing by Tom Perry; editing by John Stonestreet

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