The US-Backed Fight In Syria To Retake Raqqa Faces Complex Divisions

The US-Backed Fight In Syria To Retake Raqqa Faces Complex Divisions

Under Lee's bill, the Pentagon would be prohibited from using funds to send troops to Syria for ground combat operations, award a contract to a private security firm for ground activity or otherwise establish or maintain a presence of USA troops or a private security contractor in Syria.

He also said his military's recent recapture of the ancient city of Palmyra blocked ISIS's supply route between Iraq and Syria, and touted that whether he attacked Raqqa or just blocked the supply routes, "it has the same result". The Syrian rebel groups allied with Turkey also view Kurds with suspicion because they say the Kurdish rebels haven't fought Assad with the same zeal that they have.

"The Turkish side is an occupation force and it can not be allowed to occupy more Syrian land", he told Reuters.

"And as mid-level operational commanders are killed, they are being replaced by inexperienced fighters who are not able, in many cases, to marshal ISIS' dwindling forces".

The operation in Syria is a part of Turkey's effort to oust Isis militants but also restrict United States backed Syrian Kurdish militants.

The US military has declined to say how many troops it has deployed in Syria. Dorian said the US military has not seen "any evidence the (Kurdish force) is doing anything to threaten Turkey".

Russian Federation - which has forces on the ground in Syria and has expressed a desire to work with U.S. forces against ISIS, but is not a coalition member - will not be represented.

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Abdul-Rahman added that the Kurdish-led groups and the backing US forces have besieged Raqqa from several directions.

When the U.S-backed, Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces captured the town from IS in August, Turkey sent its troops into Syria, complaining to the Americans that the Kurdish forces must retreat east across the Euphrates.

The U.S. -led coalition said Wednesday that it was winning the broader war against ISIS.

But McCain questioned whether the Trump administration recognized the seriousness of the situation, or how important Turkish cooperation is to U.S. efforts to retake Raqa. He said a complicating factor is that the US does not have a partner government to work with in Syria as is the case in Iraq.

Ilham Ahmed, a senior official with the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, blamed Russian Federation and the United States for emboldening the Turkish push toward Manbij: The U.S. coalition by providing the Turkish forces with air cover during the assault on al-Bab, and Moscow by agreeing to let Turkey take over al-Bab despite a Syrian government push to liberate the town. And so given the fact that there are enormous sacrifices involved in any military action, it's best that we don't shoot first and aim later. If Turkey attacked its SDF allies in Manbij then the SDF would divert resources from the Raqqa offensive to fight Turkey and its Arab allies.

The divisions highlight that the offensive is important not only to push ISIS out of its de facto capital but also because it threatens to inflame the complex dynamic among the groups vying for power within the Syrian civil war.

Meanwhile, Rami Abdul-Rahman, the head of the Observatory monitor group, said that the major battle for Raqqa is "very close".

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