US Coalition Focused on Cutting Off Raqqa Amid Reports of New Daesh 'Capital'

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The US-led coalition is focused on keeping the city of Raqqa isolated, following media reports that Daesh terrorist group has moved its capital in Syria, an Operation Inherent Resolve spokesperson told Sputnik on Monday.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — On Friday, Fox News reported, citing US defense officials, that Daesh is now basing operations in Deir ez-Zor, located about 90 miles from Raqqa.

"The Coalition remains focused on isolating Raqqa, ISIS [Daesh]’s self-proclaimed capital," the spokesperson stated. "In addition, ISIS had previously used the city as a command and control node for international terrorism."

A member of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), made up of US-backed Kurdish and Arab fighters, raises a flag of the SDF near the village of Bir Fawaz, 20 km north of Raqqa, during their offensive towards the Islamic State (IS) group's Syrian stronghold as part of the third phase retake the city and its surroundings, on February 8, 2017 - Sputnik International
Kurdish-Led Forces Gain Control Over All Strategic Highways Leading to Raqqa
The spokesperson emphasized that defeating Daesh in Raqqa remains crucial for the coalition, because a victory in that city would damage the group’s "prestige, recruiting and ability to finance themselves."

US forces in Syria have noticed a pattern that Daesh leaders escape any territory they recognize is being seized while leaving some militants to fight and die in their place, he added.

The spokesperson pointed out that Daesh has not regained control over any significant territory freed by the coalition's partners.

On Sunday, Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) established control of all strategic highways leading to Daesh's de facto capital of Raqqa.

The SDF launched the Operation Euphrates Rage to retake Raqqa from Daesh in November 2016. Recently, the Syrian rebels launched the fourth stage of their operation to liberate Raqqa.

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