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U.S. and Assad forces lead charge on Isis in Raqqa

U.S. and Assad forces lead charge on Isis in Raqqa

For his part, Colonel Talal Silo, the spokesman of the SDF, told Xinhua in a recent interview that the SDF fighters have become in control of 30 percent of the territory in northern Syria with the help of Washington.

The administration also announced a high-level meeting of the 68 countries in the US-led coalition to discuss plans to accelerate ISIS' defeat.

The campaign against the city, Islamic State's Syrian base of operations, is gathering pace as Iraqi forces press ahead with their efforts to recapture Mosul, the jihadists' base in Iraq. Leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi has survived despite frequent reports of his death in airstrikes, and there are still thousands of militants fighting for ISIS. It is very likely that as the offensive begins, Kurdish fighters will near Turkish forces.

But the battle there is not yet won, and the Pentagon wants to make sure that the city of 300,000, a onetime propaganda showcase for IS, falls.

That's a big change from the "train, advise and assist" role US forces have been playing so far - although as with many previous troop deployments to Iraq and Syria, it was not debated, let alone authorized, by Congress.

ISIS has lost most of the land it once held in Iraq and Syria but hopes to cling to scraps of a self-declared caliphate, a U.S. official said Wednesday. It was not part of Donald Trump's promised revamped plan to defeat ISIS.

A Marine artillery unit is setting up shop about twenty-miles south of Raqqa with the goal of providing covering fire for the Syrian Democratic Forces slowly pushing towards the city.

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The government said that it would strike the US -backed YPG if necessary to prevent them seizing territory there.

The U.S. already had some 500 advisers working with the Syrian Democratic Forces (a a coalition of Kurdish, Arab and Christian fighters) in addition to a force of 400 that arrived more recently, Dorrian said. Foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu made clear Turkish sensitivities about the presence of Kurdish militia in Manbij, a town Ankara sees as the next stepping stone in creation of a safe zone free of Kurdish influence west of the Euphrates.

McCain, the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, expressed his concerns while addressing the commander of U.S. Central Command, U.S. Army Gen. Joseph Votel, during the hearing, according to The Hill.

"We used to get potatoes, vegetables and milk from Badoosh, but these areas are no longer accessible", said a man in Zanjeely district over the phone.

"Unless something changes, I foresee a train wreck here, and I'm not sure that the administration recognizes how seriously, particularly, [Turkish] President [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan views the threat that the Kurds pose", McCain said.

The only option that the Trump administration has that could remotely succeed is by taking a far less strident town during the UN-sponsored, intra-Syrian negotiations that are now ongoing in Geneva.

Votel said: "We are trying to cooperate with a local force who has...tension with a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally [Turkey], and this is not an easy scenario". In the Syrian army's advance against IS troops in Palmyra, the troops were indirectly aided by United States airstrikes against the group.


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