U.S.-Backed Forces Close to Trapping ISIS in Raqqa, Syria

(New York Times) Michael R. Gordon - Forces backed by the U.S. have nearly sealed off the Syrian city of Raqqa, trying to trap as many as 2,500 hard-core Islamic State militants defending the capital of their caliphate. Most Islamic State leaders and personnel responsible for administering the caliphate and plotting attacks have evacuated the city. They have relocated to Mayadin, a Syrian town on the Euphrates River. ISIS is still defending strongholds in other towns in the Euphrates River valley, from Deir al-Zour in Syria to Rawah in Iraq, as well as the Iraqi towns of Tal Afar and Huwaija. It is estimated that 1,100 militants were killed in the past month. Of those who remain, almost a third are foreign fighters. The U.S. is providing much of the firepower in support of the Arab and Kurdish forces trying to rout ISIS from Raqqa, using artillery, Himars satellite-guided rockets, Apache attack helicopters, armed drones and warplanes.

2017-07-03 00:00:00

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