BEIRUT, LEBANON (11:30 A.M.) – The Islamic State (ISIL) is on the verge of suffering several major setbacks across the northern region of Syria, as both government and Kurdish forces swiftly advance in the Al-Raqqa and Aleppo governorates.
While the liberation of Raqqa City will no doubt be a demoralizing loss for ISIL, this battle often overshadows the Syrian Arab Army’s (SAA) ongoing operations along the Aleppo-Raqqa axis.
For the Islamic State, losing Raqqa City doesn’t mean the end of their so-called ‘caliphate’ in northern Syria; however, the loss of the Ithriya-Salamiyah Highway does.
Over the last three years, the Islamic State has used this highway to transport provisions to their forces in east Aleppo and west Al-Raqqa; without it, they are left with no supply route to the Maskanah and Khanasser plains or the western bank of the Euphrates River.
More importantly, should they lose both the Ithriya-Salamiyah Highway and Raqqa City, this will mark the end of the Islamic State’s reign in northern Syria.