Fighters of the Syrian Democratic Forces prepare to fire a mortar shell toward positions held by Islamic State fighters in Raqqa, Syria, in May. PHOTO: RODI SAID/REUTERS
Wall Street Journal: U.S. Builds Force to Retake Islamic State’s Syrian Headquarters
As Iraq offensive begins, coalition looks to drive militants from Raqqa.
With an assault under way to dislodge Islamic State from its Iraqi stronghold of Mosul, the U.S. is working to assemble a force across the border to retake 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, Kurdish leaders in Syria and the U.K., trying to hammer out an agreement to launch an offensive soon on the city of Raqqa.
Such an operation would aim to isolate the extremists in the Syrian city, limit their ability to reinforce its satellite strongholds across Iraq and Syria and seal off escape routes, as the flight of fighters is both a concern for the region and a terrorist threat to Europe.
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WNU Editor: It took almost two years for the U.S. and its Iraqi allies to get their act together to launch last weeks military campaign to liberate Mosul from the Islamic State. Raqqa is in Syria, and the Syrian government with its allies are not fans of the U.S.. My prediction .... it will probably be in 2018 before such a U.S. backed force will be ready to launch an offensive to take Raqqa ... if it happens.
Update: U.S. expects 'overlap' in Mosul, Raqqa battles against Islamic State (Reuters).