ISIL militants leave Raqqa, cross Euphrates

MOSCOW, Jun. 01 (MNA) – ISIL militants continue to cross the Euphrates River in Syria from their stronghold of Raqqa despite being encircled by Kurdish and US-led coalition forces, the Russian Defense Ministry said Thursday.

The ministry said in a statement the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), together with the US, UK and French special forces, have "virtually blocked" Raqqa from the north.

"At the same time, the SDF stopped its offensive, resulting in ruptures in the IS' [Daesh] ring of encirclement. Using this, the terrorists cross the Euphrates and seek to transfer their formations in the southern direction of Syria," it said.

The Russian troop command in Syria will do its utmost to prevent ISIL from breaking through further south from Raqqa, the ministry added.

"The command of the Russian grouping of forces in the Syrian Arab Republic will continue to take all necessary measures to prevent the breakthrough of the IS [Daesh] units from Raqqa to the provinces of Homs and Hama," it said in a statement.

According to the Defense Ministry, Russia’s Aerospace Forces thwarted two attempts by ISIL to break through to Palmyra from Raqqa in the past week.

"The first convoy of terrorists from Raqqa heading to Palmyra was destroyed by the Russian Aerospace Forces on May 25. IS militants made another attempt to break through to the Palmyra area on the night of May 29 to 30. Three motorcades left Raqqa under the cover of darkness and took several routes southward," the ministry said in a statement.

They also destroyed more than 80 ISIL terrorists, 36 vehicles, eight fuel trucks and 17 pickup trucks that tried to flee the occupied city of Raqqa on Tuesday.

"The Russian Aerospace Forces hit the detected targets. The IS lost more than 80 terrorists, 36 cars, eight fuel trucks and 17 pickup trucks equipped with mortars and large-caliber machine guns," the ministry said in a statement.

SPUTNIK/MNA

News Code 125693

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