Sunday, 21 May 2017

Amid Raqqa, Mosul fights, US prepares for Daesh endgame effort

WASHINGTON: The United States is looking ahead toward a decisive battleground in its bid to destroy the Daesh group.
It is preparing for this next step even as US-backed local forces attempt to finish the fight for the extremists’ two main strongholds in Iraq and Syria.
The Pentagon is eyeing a roughly 100-mile stretch of IS-controlled territory straddling the Iraq-Syria border that could represent the start of an endgame for defeating an extremist group that had gobbled up large swaths of territory.
Much fighting remains in Mosul in northern Iraq and in the extremists’ self-declared capital of Raqqa, Syria. The follow-on battle lines are being drawn along a corridor that follows the Euphrates River valley from Syria’s eastern oil region to the Iraqi city of Al-Qaim.
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