Jihad without nibbles.

After several weeks of cautious advancing, the US-backed, largely Kurdish-manned Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have now begun their assault on the ISIS capital of Raqqah. 

In a clear insult to Muslims around the world, the assault has been timed to coincide with the period of Ramadan, a month of fasting in the Islamic lunar calendar. During Ramadan strict Muslims, like the members of ISIS, will abstain from nutrition during the hours of daylight. As SDF forces are largely secular and Marxist in their ideology, this will ensure that ISIS forces will be physically weakened in the street battles ahead. SDF forces have already reached the edge of the city. 

While ISIS forces are clearly intending to fight to the death, it is believed that the Islamist group has already moved its capital to Deir ez-Zur, a town 90 miles away, down the Euphrates river.

Meanwhile, taking advantage of the hot weather and the weakened conditions of their opponents, SDF forces have started making rapid advances to the south of the city in a clear effort to cut it off.

Meanwhile ISIS forces in Raqqah have two main priorities. One is to prevent civilians from leaving the city, so as to keep as many "human shields" as possible and thus limit the amount of US-led coalition bombing. In order to prevent people fleeing the city, roadblocks have been set up

The other priority for ISIS is to ensure that people are rigidly observing Ramadan fasting rules. Already there have been reports of ISIS arresting an old man for not fasting and whipping other civilians in the street for the same offence. It looks like it's going to be a long, tough Ramadan for the people of Raqqah. 
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