NBC: Raqqa Offensive Against ISIS to Begin Within Weeks: Ash Carter
PARIS — The offensive to oust ISIS from its capital will get underway within weeks, Defense Secretary Ash Carter told NBC News in an exclusive interview Wednesday.
"It starts in the next few weeks," he said, referring to the timeline for an assault led by Arab and Kurdish fighters on ISIS' Syrian stronghold of Raqqa. "That has long been our plan and we will be capable of resourcing both."
Carter added: "It's been long a part of our plan that the Mosul operation would kick off when it did. This was a plan that goes back many months now and that Raqqa would follow soon behind."
Raqqa is the de facto capital of the extremists' so-called caliphate which stretches from Syria into Iraq.
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More News On U.S. Defense Secretary's Remarks That The Military Offensive To Retake Raqqa From The Islamic State Will Begin in Weeks
US says coalition laying groundwork to retake Raqqa from ISIS -- AP
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US 'laying groundwork' for Raqqa assault before Mosul capture -- CNN
Ash Carter: Offense against Islamic State in Syrian stronghold to start within weeks -- Politico
With the battle for Mosul underway, U.S. sets sights on ISIS capital of Raqqa -- Washington Post
Raqqa: Battle to oust Isis from second capital city could begin 'within weeks', says US defence chief -- The Independent
Ash Carter: Raqqa Invasion Will Begin Before Mosul Campaign Ends -- Washington Free Beacon