SDF forces in Taqba examine their gains.
Tabqa, the town below the great Euphrates Dam, was the main Western position of ISIS defending their capital at Raqqah about 25 miles away. About 10 days ago, the town was surrounded by fighters of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a largely Kurdish group, made up of militias, some of which allow women to fight in their ranks. 

After beating off ISIS attempts to break through the encirclement, the SDF is now putting the squeeze on the pocket and has sent troops into the town to fight street battles with ISIS. Already two neighbourhoods have fallen, and dozens of ISIS fighters have been killed. 

There are various estimates of how long ISIS can hold out before total collapse, but right now it looks like Taqba will be completely in SDF hands within a week or two. Once that is accomplished, the SDF, aided by the American air force, will move directly on Raqqah, hoping to cut it off all as well. 

Taqba is the key to Raqqah, but Raqqah itself is the key to ISIS. Its capture will be a major blow to the morale of ISIS, and could well spark off a collapse of the Jihadist group and thus greatly simplify the Syrian conflict. 
Tabqa (Al Thawra) pocket getting squeezed.  

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