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Libyan Newswire

U.S.-led coalition set to attack and capture Raqqa, ISIS’s unofficial capital

ISISU.S.-led coalition set to attack and capture Raqqa, ISIS’s unofficial capital

Published 18 April 2016

The U.S.-led coalition is getting set to launch a full-scale attack to capture Raqqa, the unofficial capital of ISIS. A U.S. military officials said the assault on Raqqa would be the culmination of a campaign which saw a substantial weakening of ISIS and its position. Earlier last week, the Pentagon said that coalition’s airstrikes had killed 25,000 ISIS militants, and that the territory ISIS controlled in Iraq had shrunk by 40 percent since last year, and by 10 percent in Syria.

The U.S.-led coalition is getting set to launch a full-scale attack to capture Raqqa, the unofficial capital of ISIS.

Colonel Steve Warren, the coalition spokesman, told the Mail in Sunday that the assault on Raqqa would be the culmination of a campaign which saw a substantial weakening of ISIS and its position. Earlier last week, the Pentagon said that coalition’s airstrikes had killed 25,000 ISIS militants, and that the territory ISIS controlled in Iraq had shrunk by 40 percent since last year, and by 10 percent in Syria.

The destruction of ISIS-controlled oil and gas infrastructure has also diminished the group’s financial resources by at least a third, to a point where the monthly payment to ISIS fighters had been cut in half.

The Pentagon, and President Barack Obama, both said that one reason for the growing presence of ISIS in Libya – now estimated to be about 6,000 militants – is the calls by ISIS leadership for African supporters to go to Libya, rather than try and make it to Syria or Iraq.

Warren noted that more than 100 senior and high-profile ISIS figures had been killed, mostly by drone strikes.

Last week, Obama said that ISIS fighters “realize their cause is lost.”

The U.S.-led coalition is now preparing for a final assault on the city of Raqqa, Warren said.

A major bombing campaign would soon be launched against major ISIS targets in and around the city, to be followed by a ground attack by Kurdish troops.

“We are not going to telegraph our timeline, because it is something they [ISIS] want to know, but it is coming,” he told the Mail.

“Much like a boxer, Daesh [ISIS] has taken several hard blows to the mid-section,” he said. “We believe the knees are getting weak, and the head is starting to drop, and they are beginning to feel the effect of the exceptional pressure we’ve placed on them over twenty months.”

Warren rejected the suggestion that the United States has failed to “degrade and destroy” ISIS despite carrying out tens of thousands of bombing sorties since September 2014.

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