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On June 6, the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces announced the launch of the battle to liberate Raqqa from Daesh (ISIS). The battle for Raqqa, which is the main stronghold of Daesh in Syria, was announced concurrently with the SDF capturing wide areas in the Raqqa countryside in preparation to laying siege to the city.The SDF has advanced its front lines against Daesh as it pushes forward over semiempty areas and captures villages and small towns.The local Arab militia known as Liwa Thuwwar al-Raqqa, which is considered the only brigade of the Free Syrian Army that includes Arab fighters in the region, was excluded recently from participating in the battle for the city for fear of increasing the number of its recruits entering Raqqa.The task of some of its recruits is restricted to stationing in the towns and villages in order to delay the advance of SDF forces, such as when Daesh forces withdrew from Mansoura (20 kilometers west of Raqqa) toward the desert.In addition to withdrawing to this region, it is necessary to consider the potential infiltration of Daesh fighters, especially its commanders, to other regions in and outside Syria to establish new cells, as has happened in other countries.The current approach in Syria will give Daesh a similar opportunity, which will make defeating Daesh in Raqqa partial at best.
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