Washington Post: ‘Long and difficult’ battle begins for Islamic State’s Raqqa stronghold in Syria, says U.S. coalition
BEIRUT — U.S.-backed forces in Syria have begun the “long and difficult” battle seeking to retake the Islamic State’s Syrian de facto capital of Raqqa, the U.S.-led coalition fighting the extremist group said Tuesday.
The groundwork for the offensive has been under way for months as Syrian Kurdish forces tried to cut supply lines to the city in central Syria. But a showdown over the city would be a major test for the U.S.-led coalition, which has waged airstrikes against the Islamic State targets since late 2014.
A similar fight against the Islamic State in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul had led to months of intense urban combat.
“The fight for Raqqa will be long and difficult,” said Lt. Gen Steve Townsend, the coalition’s commanding general.
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