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Sunday, June 11, 2017

Sqeezing Raqqa

The battle for Raqqa is going well for coalition forces.  Those forces have already seized two large neighborhoods as well as large parts of others.  Raqqa is surrounded on all sides other than along the Euphrates river.  As a result, the only way in or out of the city for ISIS forces is by boat on the river.  Over the last week, coalition air power has attacked and sunk over 20 river boats.  What this means is that there is no escape for the ISIS forces in the city.  There is also no resupply of ammunition, food, medical supplies or anything else needed to carry on the war.  It is only a matter of time until the total collapse of ISIS in the city takes place.

The ISIS defeat in Raqqa seems to be taking place roughly five to ten times faster than the defeat of ISIS in Mosul, Iraq.  Surely there are differences between the two battles.  Still, it seems surprising that ISIS opposition is collapsing so much more quickly in their Syrian capital than in the northern Iraqi city.  There is no way to know for sure why the Raqqa battle is going so much better for coalition forces; nevertheless, it does seem that the change in tactics authorized by President Trump has made a major positive difference in the outcome at Raqqa.  President Obama was extremely cautious in both helping our allies and even providing them with weapons and air support.  This was intended to reduce casualties, but it had the opposite effect because the battle just went on and on with more people being killed or wounded all the time.  Trump has unleashed the military and the difference shows.

After Raqqa and the remaining portion of Mosul fall, there will no longer be cities under ISIS control.  The coalition should be able to take control of villages and regions still controlled by ISIS rather quickly after that.

We are soon getting to the day where nothing, NOTHING, will be left of the ISIS caliphate.

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