ISIS 'capital' wall breached by US backed forces in Raqqa

BBC:
US-backed Syrian forces have breached the wall at Raqqa's Old City as they try to retake the city from so-called Islamic State, the US military says.

It says the coalition had helped the advance of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) by firing on two sections of the historic Rafiqa Wall.

The SDF, supported by US-led coalition air strikes, has spent months encircling the city.

IS seized Raqqa in 2014, proclaiming it the capital of a "caliphate".

The city has been an important hub for the jihadist group's operations, though as the SDF closed in, key IS officials are believed to have fled from there towards Deir al-Zour province, which is mostly under IS control.

About 2,500 IS militants are still in Raqqa, according to the US-led coalition, with about 100,000 people trapped by the fighting in the city.

US Central Command said air strikes had hit two "small" 25m (80ft) sections of the Rafiqa Wall, which it said "will help preserve" the remaining 2,475m.

It said IS had been planting mines and IEDs [improvised explosive devices] at openings in the wall, through which SDF fighters would have been channelled.

The Old City is highly strategic for the Arab-Kurdish alliance to capture from IS, given its close proximity to the city centre.
...
The breaching operation appears to have thwarted ISIS attempt to mine the avenues of approach inside their shrinking perimeter.  Once Raqqa falls, these fighters will probably then focus on Deir al-Zour where the remnants of ISIS is hiding out.

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