Field Commander: Final Assault on IS in Raqqa to Start Sunday

A final assault on Islamic State’s last line of defense in its former Syrian capital Raqqa should begin on Sunday night, a field commander for the U.S.-backed forces operating there said.The loss of Islamic State’s remaining streets and buildings in Raqqa following its defeat in Iraq’s Mosul this year and its retreat from swathes of territory in both countries, would mark a big moment in the battle to destroy the jihadist group.At the height of its power two years ago Islamic State ruled over millions of people, from northern Syria to the outskirts of Iraq’s capital Baghdad, but it has since endured a series of losses under attack from many sides.The assault on militants in the center of Raqqa will focus on the area around the stadium and would attempt to surround it, Ardal Raqqa, a field commander in the Syrian Democratic Forces SDF) in western Raqqa, told Reuters on Sunday.For three years Raqqa was the de facto Syrian capital of Islamic State’s self-declared caliphate, a center of operations where it oversaw the management of much of eastern, central and northern Syria and planned attacks abroad.Now it is hemmed into a small area in the city center that includes the stadium, the National Hospital and a roundabout where Islamic State once displayed the heads of its enemies.The group has lost most of its territory to the SDF and to a rival offensive by Syria’s army and allied forces this year, and has fallen back on the fertile Euphrates valley area downstream of Raqqa.


Source: Field Commander: Final Assault on IS in Raqqa to Start Sunday

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