FILE - In this Feb. 17, 2016 file photo, soldiers from the Syrian army fire a rocket at ISIS positions in the province of Raqqa, Syria. (Alexander Kots/Komsomolskaya Pravda via AP, File)
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A major battle to liberate ISIS' stronghold of Raqqa in northern Syria is looming, with U.S. officials looking to build on momentum from victories on the battlefields of Mosul in Iraq.The question is: who are those local allies in the tangled mess that is Syria's conflict?Syrian government forces, Turkish troops and their Syrian militia allies, and U.S.-backed Kurdish forces all have their eye on Raqqa. That is using a relatively intensively trained and united military, backed by heavy U.S. firepower and commandos on the ground -- a contrast to the comparatively undisciplined and fragmented forces the U.S. has to choose from as allies in Syria.Aided by U.S.-led coalition airstrikes and some 500 U.S. special forces troops deployed in an advisory role, the force has been marching toward Raqqa since November.Assad's forces are preoccupied with other battles, however, and would likely need significant U.S. military involvement to take on Raqqa.In Mosul, the U.S.-led coalition is playing a greater role than ever before in the fight against ISIS and coalition forces have moved closer to front-line fighting.
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