Talal Sillo, a spokesman for the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, told reporters Tuesday that operations have begun in coordination with the USA -led coalition.
On Saturday, Erdogan once again expressed his displeasure with the United States for supporting the Kurds and threatened an invasion "without asking anyone" if Turkey came under attack.
"Within a few days, you will find us at the Iraqi border, and we will achieve a great and historic victory in the history of this crisis - cleansing the entire Badia, liberating the Tanf road. and restoring the vital artery between Iraq and Syria", said one of the soldiers interviewed by the state TV channel in the Badia area.
Earlier in the day, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said that the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), the military branch of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), started a US-backed offensive on Raqqa on June 2 and Turkey had been informed about the operation before it started.
U.S. Army Colonel Ryan S. Dillon, a spokesman for the U.S. -backed coalition against Islamic State, said the Syrian Democratic Forces who would lead the offensive had closed a ring around Raqqa, but he did not confirm the assault had started.
Lt. Gen. Steve Townsend, Commanding General of the Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve, said in a statement that the fight for Raqqa "will be long and hard but would deliver a decisive blow to the idea of ISIS as a physical caliphate".
We review key developments in Syria, including a new push by the SDF toward Raqqa, ISIS militants losing ground in Aleppo province and government forces carrying out a series of attacks against rebel positions in Daraa city. Last week, they reached the northern and eastern gates of the city.
"We all saw the heinous attack in Manchester, England", said Townsend.
It added that the SDF captured on Monday the town of Khatoniyeh, west of Raqqa, amid intense battles still raging in the village of Hawi, as the SDF is advancing to capture that area as well. "ISIS threatens all our nations, not just Iraq and Syria, but in our homelands as well".
In recent days, the USA military has repeatedly warned massing forces to stay away from a so-called "de-confliction" zone near a garrison used by American special forces and US -backed fighters around the southern town of At Tanf.
It is unclear how many civilians remain in Raqqa.