Small Wars Journal

U.S.-Backed Forces Battle ISIS in Heart of Syria's Raqqa & Does the Taliban Have the SCAR?

Mon, 07/17/2017 - 7:50pm

U.S.-Backed Forces Battle ISIS in Heart of Syria's Raqqa - Associated Press

U.S.-backed Syrian fighters fought Islamic State militants in the heart of Raqqa, the extremists' self-styled capital, on Monday, as scores of civilians fled areas controlled by the group.

The Kurdish-led group has been one of the most effective forces fighting ISIS in Syria, but has also clashed with Turkish-backed Syrian forces elsewhere in the country. As it battled ISIS in Raqqa, the SDF also fought Turkish-allied Syrian forces in Ein Daqna, in the neighboring Aleppo province, according to Syrian activists and Turkish media.

The Syrian Democratic Forces, aided by the U.S.-led coalition, launched their offensive to capture Raqqa on June 6, and have since taken several areas. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Monday's fighting is concentrated in Raqqa's southwestern neighborhood of Yarmouk as well as a central area close to the Old City.

The SDF says intense fighting is underway in central Raqqa, adding that its fighters have taken positions near a centuries-old mosque known as the Old Mosque. The Kurdish-run Hawar news agency says some 180 civilians were able to flee areas controlled by ISIS, while the Observatory put the number in the hundreds.

The SDF said 11 ISIS fighters have been killed in the clashes since Sunday. The ISIS-linked Aamaq news agency said 14 SDF fighters were killed in the fighting in Raqqa on Sunday alone…

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Taliban Seen With SCAR Rifle Commonly Carried by American Commandos by Shawn Snow - Military Times

In a propaganda film posted to the Taliban's official website, a fighter can be seen carrying a FN SCAR 7.62mm rifle, a weapon commonly issued to U.S. special operators, such as Marine Raiders and Army Rangers. 

The 70-minute video titled “Omari Army 5,” produced by Al Emarah Studio — a media branch of the Taliban— showcases seven Taliban training bases and military training exercises being carried out by the resurgent militant group.

The video also displays U.S. weapon systems and optics commonly carried by American soldiers and Marines.

Attached to the rifle is what appears to be an AN/PEQ 5 visible laser, which aids special operators in aiming and precision fires in close quarters.

Affixed to the rifle’s side rail mount is a past model Surefire flashlight, issued to special operators as part of the older generation of Special Operations Peculiar Modification Kits — assorted optics, lasers and night vision equipment issued to American commandos that can be attached to an M4 carbine or SCAR rifle...

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