19:48 GMT28 May 2020
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    A US-backed Kurdish offensive on Raqqa, as well as the Iraqi army's operation in Fallujah has recently been one of the hottest topics in global media. However, the media buzz does not reflect the actual situation on the ground and looks more like a "PR operation," a French analyst said.

    Since the beginning of last week, Western newspapers and media outlets have been flooded with news of an offensive on Raqqa, the de-facto capital of Daesh, carried by Kurdish forces backed by Washington.

    Some articles praised a large-scale offensive on the Daesh stronghold in Syria while others were more moderate.

    However, the actual situation on the ground is complicated and may be different from what we see or read in media, French intelligence and military analyst Alain Rodier told Atlantico.

    "When media reports on a military conflict one should not forget that in fact it is nearly impossible to assess, for example, the real number of killed enemies on the ground," Rodier said.

    Parties involved in the Syrian conflict rarely publish on their websites actual photos and video footage from the battlefield, he added.

    According to the expert, what is happening in media now over the Raqqa and Fallujah offensives is a massive PR campaign launched by Washington.

    The reason behind this campaign is the ongoing presidential race in the US, Rodier said.

    After Russia launched its military operation in Syria, the Syrian Army and its allies backed by Russian airstrikes made significant advances against terrorists. The pinnacle of this offensive was the liberation of the ancient city of Palmyra.

    At the same time, US involvement in the fight against Daesh has been limited to airstrikes, and has been criticized in comparison with Russia’s success.

    According to Rodier, now Washington wants to compensate its reputation losses, running a massive "PR operation" over the Raqqa offensive.

    However, the situation on the ground is much more complicated because there are a number of different groups involved in the offensive and all of them have different goals. For example, the principal goal of the Kurdish forces is not to liberate Raqqa but to establish an autonomous state.

    What is more, if recent history is any indication, the large-scale complex operation will most likely last for weeks and meet fierce resistance from Daesh. Recent developments suggest that the group is not intent on going down without a fight.


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    military conflict, Daesh, Syria, United States, Raqqa
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