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The “Raqqa Campaign” that never was and slow-moving Mosul offensive

Sunday, November 6, 2016 7:39
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DEBKAfile was founded by a team of journalists in June 2000 as an independent Internet Web site, providing an intelligence and security news service. November 6, 2016, 4:28 PM (IDT)

The US-backed Kurdish-led Syrian Arab and Christian Democratic Forces (SAC) announced the start of a plan Sunday to retake the Islamic State terror group’s de facto capital of Raqqa — an operation they called “Euphrates Rage,” in which they said 30,000 fighters would take part.

DEBKAfile’s military sources discount the announcement that was delivered at a news conference in Ein Issa, north of premature bombast. No comment has come from Turkey or US. Not surprisingly, Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga leaders hastened to deny any involvement in the “Raqqa campaign,” fearing a political backlash. Turkey has rejected American efforts to be drawn into joining the Raqqa offensive so long as Kurdish fighters are involved. If it does take place, Ankara may well retaliate against the US-led coalition’s Mosul offensive. The Kurdish government in Irbil is bent on disassociating itself from the Syrian initiative in fear of this fallout. As it is, the Mosul offensive enters its third week without the Iraqi army getting past the outskirts of the city, held back by ISIS resistance. 

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