It’s been over three months since the U.S.-led Coalition along with Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have launched concluding phase of the Raqqa campaign.
Despite all promises of the Combined Joint Task Force concerning the end of the operation, the situation on the ground is completely wrong.
Furthermore, it is complicated by a huge number of civilian casualties resulting from indiscriminate US-led air strikes.
According to Reuters, Nowruz Ahmed, a top-ranking Kurdish commander, admitted that nobody could determine the time period in which the battle of Raqqa will end. However,
“the battle to oust Islamic State from its stronghold in the Syrian city of Raqqa should end at least within two months,” she said.
According to many Syrian experts, protracted nature of the Raqqa campaign is due to Washington and its allies aren’t interested in complete elimination of ISIS terrorists. The U.S. most likely intends to push terrorists back from the city to Deir Ezzor. This will prevent the government forces from establishing control over the oil-rich territory.
Such a position is shared by the Iranian government. Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani accused the U.S. of supporting and equipping terrorists in Syria.
“Instead of fighting terrorist elements, Western countries and the U.S. take suspicious measures in line with strengthening terrorism and worsening insecurity in the region,” Shamkhani said.
It also should be mentioned that several months ago mass media reported about the U.S.-backed forces made deal with ISIS terrorists, allowing them to leave Raqqa for Palmyra. By the way, the government troops were actively fighting ISIS to liberate the ancient city at that time. The huge increase in the number of extremists had significantly prevented the SAA from moving forward.
Besides, there’s another reason for a prolonged nature of the military operation in Raqqa. The U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) continues to ignore success of the SAA and its allies. In its turn, the government counter-terrorist operation creates enabling conditions for the Coalition’s military progress in Raqqa.
We can assume that the Raqqa campaign will be significantly prolonged. Washington continues to use terrorists as one of the main forces confronting the SAA. Apparently, the White House seeks only for formal gaining in Raqqa and becoming a winner of the battle. However, the total elimination of terrorists is certainly not integrated in the U.S. current administration’s plans.
Anna Jaunger is a freelance journalist at Inside Syria Media Center where this article was originally published.
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