U.S. Builds Force to Retake Islamic State's Syrian Headquarters

(Wall Street Journal) Maria Abi-Habib and Dion Nissenbaum - With an assault underway to dislodge Islamic State from its Iraqi stronghold of Mosul, the U.S. is working to assemble a force to retake Raqqa, the extremists' de facto capital in Syria. Top U.S. officials have met in recent weeks with members of the anti-Islamic State coalition, including Turkey and Kurdish leaders, to hammer out an agreement to launch an offensive soon. The plan is complicated by the limited American military role on the ground in Syria, where a few dozen Special Operation Forces work with Turkey and its allies, supported by U.S. and coalition airstrikes. Turkey opposes U.S. proposals to use a Kurdish-led force to take part in the Raqqa offensive, and wants Arab rebels to spearhead the operation. Arab rebels, meanwhile, are bogged down fighting the Syrian government elsewhere. U.S. officials are skeptical of Turkey's ability to quickly train and arm enough Sunni Arab fighters to replace the highly effective Kurdish fighters.

2016-10-20 00:00:00

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