"The US-led coalition intends to isolate Raqqa, seize Mosul and then return to taking Raqqa under control. This plan appears to be quite viable," Sergey Ermakov, a senior analyst at the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies, told Svobodnaya Pressa.
Earlier, US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter announced that the offensive aimed at freeing Raqqa will commence in a few weeks, adding that the Pentagon had resources to carry out overlapping operations.
The political analyst expressed doubt that the anti-Daesh coalition will be able to fully isolate Raqqa.
"I think that a full blockade of the city is out of the question since the [US-led] coalition would need to bring in significant reserves. However, [the coalition] has enough forces to cut off key routes linking Raqqa and Mosul," he said.
The operation to free the so-called capital of Daesh's caliphate will not be a walk in the park. The analyst maintained that Washington has enough resources to retake Raqqa in the coming weeks, but there are several major issues that US officials and military commanders have to take into account.
"The question is whether the coalition is ready to use these resources, whether it is ready to sustain significant 'unintended' casualties among civilians and service personnel," he explained.
Semen Bagdasarov, director of the Center for Middle Eastern and Central Asian Studies, pointed out that much remains unclear with regard to the upcoming US-led operation in Raqqa, particularly who will lead the onslaught.
"The Turks and the Kurds could do it, but they surely will not fight shoulder to shoulder," he said. The analyst further noted that isolating Raqqa is possible. "Americans could achieve this with the help of the Kurds or Syrian opposition groups."
On the same day, the US defense chief also indicated that local forces will be the ones tasked with the operation in order to make the victory over Daesh "lasting."
For its part, the Pentagon will "bring down like a tornado the huge, massive, awesome American military power" to assist local fighters in their counterterrorism efforts, he added. "It includes air power, it includes intelligence, it includes command and control, but very importantly, it includes engineering."