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US-led coalition withdraws from northeastern Syrian cities of Raqqa, Tabqah

On Tuesday, Syrian government troops entered the city of Tabqah and the nearby airfield in the Raqqa governorate

WASHINGTON, October 16. /TASS/. The forces of the US-led anti-terrorism coalition left the northeastern Syrian cities of Raqqa and Tabqah on Wednesday, the official military spokesperson for Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR) said.

"Coalition forces continue a deliberate withdrawal from northeast Syria. On Oct. 16, we vacated the Lafarge Cement Factory [close to the town of Kobani - TASS], Raqqa, and Tabqah," Col. Myles Caggins said in a Twitter post.

In another post some time later, Caggins said that during the withdrawal, US forces conducted an airstrike to destroy its stocks of ammunition.

"After all Coalition personnel and essential tactical equipment departed, two Coalition F-15Es successfully conducted a pre-planned precision airstrike at the Lafarge Cement Factory to destroy an ammunition cache and reduce the facility’s military usefulness," he said.

Earlier, the Al Mayadeen TV reported that first units of the Syrian military entered the city of Raqqa, which until recently was controlled by Kurdish armed groups.

On Tuesday, Syrian government troops entered the city of Tabqah and the nearby airfield in the Raqqa governorate. They also regained control over several bridges and two hydroelectric power plants on the Euphrates River. Some time ago, Syrian servicemen entered two former US bases in Manbij (85 km away from Aleppo), that had been established two years ago to patrol Syria’s northern areas.

On October 9, Ankara launched an offensive in northern Syria dubbed Operation Peace Spring, which began with airstrikes on Kurdish units. The objective is to establish ‘a safe zone’ in northern Syria for protection of the Turkish border. In addition, Syrian refugees could return to that area from Turkey, Ankara believes. Syria’s SANA news agency slammed Ankara’s operation as an act of aggression. The international community criticized Ankara. SANA reported on Sunday evening that Damascus had reached an agreement with Kurdish groups to deploy troops to Syria’s north to offer resistance to the Turkish army.