"The fact of the matter is that Raqqa has not been surrounded. The People's Protection Units (YPG) have advanced from the north, while the SDF have approached from the east. The United States deployed its troops near Tabqa. The situation in the west and southwest is much more complicated. The migration of Daesh fighters to Deir ez-Zor has continued unabated, with the terrorist group using the Deir ez-Zor province to rotate forces," the analyst explained.
Mardasov, who heads of the Department of Middle East Conflicts at the Moscow-based Institute for Innovative Development, further commented on reports that Daesh moved its capital to Deir ez-Zor, saying that only some administrative workers relocated there.
The Syrian Democratic Forces have been Washington's primary ally on the ground in Syria. The SDF, largely made up of Kurdish and Arab militias, have been tasked with retaking Raqqa, Daesh's last urban stronghold. They are currently focused on pushing Daesh out of the city of Tabqa and taking control of the nearby dam, located some 40 kilometers (25 miles) from Raqqa.
Once this operation is over, the SDF would be able to proceed to the capital of Daesh's caliphate. The assault on the city was expected to begin in April, but has been postponed.
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