Capital of caliphate now under direct assault by US backed troops

The US-backed campaign to capture Isis’ de facto capital of Raqqa in Syria has officially started, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) has announced, marking the beginning of the end of the so-called caliphate.

The three-fronted attack was launched from the north, east and west of the city on Monday, spokesperson Talal Sillo told Reuters by telephone on Tuesday. Troops have already managed to enter the city's eastern gate.

Isis took advantage of the chaos of Syria's complex war to seize territory and sweep into neighbouring Iraq in 2014, imposing its extremist beliefs and brutal rule on civilians since. The Kurdish-Arab coalition of ground fighters has been slowly tightening the siege around jihadi militants in the northern city since November, assisted by US-led coalition air strikes.
Operation Euphrates Wrath - as the campaign is known - is designed to dovetail with the fight to liberate the city of Mosul from Isis in neighbouring Iraq.

Mosul, once the largest city under Isis' control, is about to fall to Iraqi coalition forces after eight months of bitter street-by-street warfare. SDF forces hope to cut off the last fighters fleeing west over the border before they reach Raqqa.

The loss of both cities will effectively spell the end of Isis' so-called caliphate, although it is unlikely the militants will go quietly in their final battle.
The remnants of ISIS are expected to continue the fight as insurgents in the area as well as promote mass murder attacks against noncombatants in Europe and the US.  That is the reason President Trump has ordered the military to pursue an annihilation campaign against the Islamic terror state.


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