Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) liberated two villages from Islamic State (ISIS) control during the third phase of the Operation Wrath of Euphrates to isolate the ISIS-held Syrian city of Raqqa. The two villages are situated near Swediyah al-Kabirah to the west of Raqqa. The SDF are currently advancing towards Raqqa on three fronts, and while progress during the third phase has been rapid, some fierce clashes have broken out as ISIS militants look to stem the SDF’s advance. After cutting several strategic roads, the SDF are moving closer to their aim of surrounding and isolating the Syrian city entirely, in anticipation of an operation to liberate the city from the jihadist group. That operation is believed to start within the coming weeks. The SDF, a coalition of Kurdish and Arab fighters who have been successfully fighting ISIS in northern Syria, has been steadily moving in on the jihadist group in Raqqa for the past five months. The operation to isolate the ISIS-stronghold of Raqqa began on November 5, 2016.
The interior minister confirmed the arrest of 18 individuals in the Kingdom belonging to four islamic state in Iraq and Syria. Fifteen of them were Saudi citizens and the other three were from Yemen and Sudan. During the arrests about two million riyals were confiscated and the spokesperson for Saudi Arabia’s interior ministry al-Turki said most of those arrested supply materials to the ISIS cells in Riyadh. The ministry affirmed that ISIS cells in Saudi Arabia have spread to Mecca, Medina, Riyadh and Qassim regions.