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US-Backed Kurdish/Arab Force Begins Syrian Offensive On Raqa.

A joint Kurdish-Arab militia group called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on Nov. 6 began its own offensive on ISIS' Syrian strong-hold in Raqa province, first moving on its capital city also called Raqa. This city has about 250,000 inhabitants, compared to Mosul's usual 2m population (but only about 1.2-1.4m by end-October 2016). The aim is to encircle the city and largely cut off the ISIS re-conveyor of arms, supplies and fighters. US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter on Nov. 6 welcomed SDF's move, saying: "The effort to isolate, and ultimately liberate, Raqa marks the next step in our coalition campaign plan". US air-strikes target ISIS' command.

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Publication:APS Diplomat Strategic Balance in the Middle East
Date:Nov 7, 2016
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