ISIS's defensive position around their capital of Raqqah is becoming increasingly ragged. Recently their main defensive position to the West, in the town of Taqba, was cut off and isolated by the US-backed, largely Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). 

Now their position to the North of Raqqah is under severe attack with SDF forces launching a pincer movement that threatens to cut off even more ISIS fighters or panic them into a hasty retreat that will make them vulnerable to air attack. 

ISIS feeling the pinch.
In possibly related news, ISIS announced that they had launched an offensive against the Syrian military in the town of Deir Ezzor, further down the Euphrates River and closer to the parts of Iraq that ISIS still control. Syrian forces have been under siege in Deir Ezzor for years. If it could be captured it would make a suitable replacement capital, as it is located deeper in their Sunni Arab heartland.

The attack is unlikely to succeed, but one way to read it is as an admission by ISIS that Raqqah will inevitably fall.

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