U.S.-BACKED SDF CAPTURES DISTRICT IN CAMPAIGN AGAINST IS IN RAQQA

raqqaisisA U.S.-backed Arab-Kurd coalition fighting Islamic State near Raqqa has captured the district of Al Qadisia outside of the extremists’ self-declared capital in Syria, military officials say.

The Syrian Democratic Forces took Al Qadisia, west of Raqqa, after three days of intense fighting, the SDF said on June 25 amid reports of stiffening IS resistance.

The SDF began its drive against Raqqa — the last ISIS stronghold inside Syria — in early June after a monthslong campaign to encircle IS fighters inside the city.

The report of the gains comes on the same day that U.S.-led Iraqi government troops reported major advances against ISIS in Mosul, the group’s capital in Iraq and its last stronghold in that country.

The loss of Raqqa and Mosul would represent major victories against ISIS, which captured large swathes of territory from Syrian and Iraqi government forces in 2014.

Coalition spokesman Colonel Ryan Dillon said on June 25 that IS resistance around Raqqa was increasing as the militants became more desperate.

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