SDF forces greet each other after closing the pincers North of Raqqah.
We have been following the battle developing North of Raqqah, the capital of the ISIS Caliphate. In recent days, the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (or more accurately the "Kurdish Marxist Forces") launched a pincer attack on the ISIS bulge to the North of Raqqah. Now it seems that the pincers have closed, nipping off a considerable portion of ISIS territory, including nine villages, which fell in one day. This of course brings SDF forces ever closer to Raqqah. 

The captured villages are shown in green.

Meanwhile in Tabqa to the West of Raqqah, the battle continues between ISIS forces cut off in the town earlier this month by the SDF. 

While ISIS is clearly on a losing streak, the group shows no signs of collapsing yet, either in Syria or Iraq, where they continue to hold a substantial part of the country's second largest city Mosul. Possibly this is because, contrary to propaganda and their own lurid self-image, ISIS is actually an organic expression of resistance by the Sunni Arab people of Iraq and Syria, while movements like the SDF, outside their Kurdish heartlands, are basically astroturf military operations. 

This could mean that some form of warfare could drag on in these regions even after most of the towns and cities now held by ISIS fall. It has to be asked, whose interests does this serve? Certainly not that of the Syrian and Iraqi people, and certainly not that of the European nations dealing with the refugee flows.

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