DAMASCUS, SYRIA (10:00 P.M.) – Despite facing overwhelming odds, the Islamic State garrison in Raqqa will not surrender easily, new photos released by Amaq Agency reveal.
Stocked up on ammunition and supplies, at least 2,000 ISIS fighters appear well-prepared for a long battle for Raqqa which the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have ringed entirely, largely due to newly arrived weapons and vehicles supplied by the US-led coalition.
Although the Islamic State withdrew all tanks from its self-proclaimed capital prior to encirclement, jihadist insurgents are still able to put up a fight by deploying mortar guns, machine-gun fire, snipers, suicide bombers and booby traps:
For now, the SDF has captured nearly a dozen outer suburbs, bringing approximately 20% of the ISIS stronghold under Kurdish control. However, Kurdish contingents are yet to reach the city centre or densely populated areas.
Notably, the photos suggest ISIS commanders look to copy the battle for Mosul from across the border where door-to-door fighting and close-quarter combat proved deadly for US allies, dragging on the battle for over 8 months.