With a newly formed Syrian Arab Army (SAA) salient thrusting into western Raqqa, the Islamic State now faces a serious threat to its capital, Raqqa city.

However, the more immediate objective seems to be the capture of Tabqa Airbase or a push northwards to the Euphrates River; the latter move would have all ISIS areas in the Aleppo governorate cut off from the Islamic State mainland.

Another possible scenario – although highly unlikely – is a major push through Raqqa to Deir Ezzor, an isolated government enclave in eastern Syria.

In the past week, about 100 ISIS fighters have been killed in western Raqqa while government forces have advanced 45 kilometers along the Ithriya-Raqqa road.

With the Islamic State capital under increasing pressure, ISIS commanders are forced to prioritize their scarce manpower between the Manbij frontline and the western Raqqa frontline as it has become virtually impossible to contain both offensives at once.

The SAA is competing with the U.S. backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to capture Raqqa from the Islamic State although the SDF seems to have refocused its military strength on capturing Manbij city.

Long-term, the capture of Manbij will enable the SDF to build a corridor and eventually connect with the Kurdish enclave at Efrin, a region in northwestern Aleppo.

The U.S. backed Syrian Democratic Forces have seized approximately 500 square kilometers of ISIS-held territory in the Manbij plains (eastern Aleppo) in the past week alone.

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Student currently living in Denmark. Special focus on news from Syria, MENA map-making and strategical military analysis.

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Andrew Sivaram
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Andrew Sivaram

The ISIS caliphate will go down in history as the probably the shortest lived empire the world has ever seen…….

Amin
Guest
Amin

Not shortest but one of the shortest.

Free World
Guest
Free World

Is that tiny bit of yellow above Raqqa the YPG forces moving in too?

Berlin
Guest
Berlin

Indeed.

Ацика Андрејевић
Guest
Ацика Андрејевић

Now, only question is who will provide more money to the IS so they can take Raqqa.. SAA or SDF…

Amin
Guest
Amin

I bet SDF even though personally I prefer SAA.

daeshit sucks
Guest
daeshit sucks

I bet everybody wants to pay them with lead instead of silver or gold… Although some may chose tungsten or depleted uranium… And there are other shithadists to take care of. Don’t be fooled : they may be less into watching gore movies but their agenda is the same, they’re all in Sayyid Qutb… One of the so-called moderate groups likes to parade allawi women in cages when they’re aren’t using sarin lethal gas to make a false flag in Goutha and kill 1000 ppl in order to charge the government of war crimes and use of WMDs, BTW, they… Read more »

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Hind Abyad

I don’t trust the SDF it’s US taking up not the for love of Syria