US Expects Anti-Daesh Operations in Raqqa, Mosul to Drag On

© REUTERS / Rodi SaidA US fighter, who is fighting alongside with Syria Democratic Forces (SDF), carries his national flag as he stands with SDF fighters in northern province of Raqqa, Syria May 27, 2016
A US fighter, who is fighting alongside with Syria Democratic Forces (SDF), carries his national flag as he stands with SDF fighters in northern province of Raqqa, Syria May 27, 2016 - Sputnik International
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The United States doesn't expect to win easily in Raqqa and Mosul, the White House representative said Monday.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The campaign to liberate the Syrian city of Raqqa from the Islamic State terror group will not be easy and will require time, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said in a briefing. At the same time, the campaign to free the Iraqi city of Mosul shows slow but steady progress, he said.

"We anticipate that this will be a long campaign and not one that is easily won," Earnest commented on the Raqqa operation on Monday.

"The progress there is slow, but it's steady," Earnest said of the Mosul offensive. "They [Iraqi forces] benefit from the advice and assistance of US and other coalition forces on the ground."

On Sunday, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) announced the launch of the operation Wrath of Euphrates to retake Raqqa from the entrenched Islamic State militants.

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The Wrath of Euphrates force consists of 30,000 fighters, including Kurds, Arabs, Assyrians and Armenians. According to media reports, US special forces are backing the advance.

The Islamic State, which is also known as Daesh in Arabic and is outlawed in Russia, overran Mosul in 2014 and declared a caliphate in the captured territories.

The Iraqi prime minister announced a campaign on October 17 to reclaim the city with a mixed force of Iraqi army soldiers, Kurdish militias and Sunni Arab tribesmen advancing from south, east and north.

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