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Liberating Raqqa From Daesh Not Prime Objective for Damascus - Assad

© AP Photo / Raqqa Media Center of the Islamic State group, FileIn this undated file image posted on Monday, June 30, 2014, by the Raqqa Media Center of the Islamic State group, a Syrian opposition group, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, fighters from the Islamic State group parade in Raqqa, north Syria
In this undated file image posted on Monday, June 30, 2014, by the Raqqa Media Center of the Islamic State group, a Syrian opposition group, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, fighters from the Islamic State group parade in Raqqa, north Syria - Sputnik International
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Liberating Syria’s northern city of Raqqa, a Daesh stronghold, is not a top priority for the Syrian government, even though it is on the list of important objectives, Syrian President Bashar Assad said.

In this undated file image posted on Monday, June 30, 2014, by the Raqqa Media Center of the Islamic State group, a Syrian opposition group, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, fighters from the Islamic State group parade in Raqqa, north Syria - Sputnik International
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PARIS (Sputnik) — Assad stressed that Raqqa is "no more than a symbol of the Islamic State [Daesh]", and that "the IS [Daesh] is present everywhere" – near Damascus, in Palmyra, eastern Syria.

"No, Raqqa is not such a goal. … Raqqa is not a priority. Priorities are everywhere. And they depend on the military development. But for us everything is important — Raqqa, Idlib, Palmyra," Assad told French radio station Europe1 in an interview published on Thursday.

The civil war being fought in Syria between government troops and numerous opposition and terrorist organizations has been raging for nearly six years.

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), backed by US airstrikes, are currently advancing on Raqqa. Earlier this month, the Syrian Kurds announced plans to fully liberate the city from Daesh extremists, outlawed in Russia and many other countries, in the near future.

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