Retaking Manbij Sets the Stage for Attack on ISIS Capital Raqqa

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Retaking Manbij Sets the Stage for Attack on ISIS Capital Raqqa

Lieutenant General Sean MacFarland, commander, Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve, has said that once ISIS is defeated in the Syrian city of Manbij, that will “set the stage for the eventual attack to seize Raqqa, and that will mark the beginning of the end for Daesh [ISIS] in Syria,” the official website of the US Department of Defence reported on August 10.

Hea added that the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) achieved success seizing Shaddadi, Hasakah, and Tishreen from ISIS.

Retaking Manbij will set the stage for the eventual attack to seize Raqqa,according to McFarland, who stressed that retaking ISIS-controlled Raqqa will “mark the beginning of the end for [ISIS] in Syria.”

“During these operations, [US-led] coalition aircraft have conducted about 50,000 sorties against [ISIS] in the past year,” he said. “During those sorties we’ve dropped more than 30,000 munitions on the enemy with approximately two-thirds of those in Iraq and about one-third in Syria. Our artillery has conducted more than 700 fire missions.

And although it’s not a measure of success and it’s difficult to confirm, we estimate that over the past 11 months we’ve killed about 25,000 enemy fighters. When you add that to the 20,000 estimated killed prior to our arrival, that’s 45,000 enemy taken off the battlefield.”

According to MacFarland, the SDF, backed by the US-led coalition airpower, will start preparation of advance on the ISIS self-proclaimed capital of Raqqa as soon as the group secures Manbij. However, this statement contradicts previous statements of the Kurdish political leadership that claimed an advance on the town of Al Bab in order to expand the Kurdish ifluence along the Syrian-Turkey border. This could lead to some jitters between the US-led coalition and its proxies in Syria.

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  • Alex M

    If I may be so bold, Al-Bab (or Jarabulus) and then moving west towards Afrin makes far more sense from a strategic point of view. Not only would this allow the YPG/SDF to create a contiguous territory (and allow SDF fighters to move more freely between Afrin and the other Cantons) it would also completely cut off ISIS from the rest of the world. Not only do their supply lines get cut off (ending their ability to bring in more ammunition, foreign fighters, money, weapons & supplies), they’d have no way of exporting terrorists to Europe or selling their oil to Turkey. Then the substantially strengthened SDF could retake Raqqa from a substantially weakened ISIS.

    • chris chuba

      Al Bab is in the best interest of the Kurds to reunite with their western territory and strategically more important as it would totally isolate ISIS from Turkey. Note, it was the U.S. commander who wants to move on Raqqa, most likely to provide good news for the Obama Administration in time for the elections.

      Who will prevail, the move that makes the most strategic sense or the one that garners the most political payoff for the U.S.? The Russians might be able to influence the situation by providing air support if that is the leverage that the U.S. would use to try to force the hand of the SDF.

      • JH

        At the rate they are going i would say they could very well do both. Its just about 30 kilometers to al bab, and driving wedge seperating the north and the south of the islamic state would effectively cut the off without the need of recapture the whole area. Who cares they have Jarablus? They wont be able to hold on to it anyway…

    • John

      Hello Alex. What you are saying makes perfect sense and would seem tactically rational. But, I am observing other things in Syria, which tosses apparent logic out of the window. Men and munitions will flow to ISIS, no matter what. There is an almost free exchange of men and material between the ‘rebels’. It negates all standard thinking of how to deal with anybody in particular over there. My opinion on it is simple, get rid of them all and the problem will vanish, for the most part in Syria.

      A good day and good weekend to you.

      • Alex M

        Looking at the Syrian battle map, ISIS is surrounded except for a “breathing straw” corridor going into Turkey. To the west is the SAA/NDF controlled territory along the coast and to the north is the YPG/SDF controlled territory along the border with Turkey. In Iraq they’re surrounded by the Iraqi government forces and the Kurdish peshmerga forces. The only conceivable way ISIS could get access to the rest of the world is through Jordan and they’re cut off from Jordan by NSA territory. I don’t support the NSA, but they don’t have a tactical truce or ceasefire with ISIS.

        • John

          Hi Alex. I like what you are saying. Again it makes sense. But, something else is going on here. ISIS is popping up all over; from Libya to Afghanistan. They don’t seem to be able to be contained at this time. they may lose territory now and then but, they keep coming back. Until the hard core supporters and benifactors are cut off, the party just picks up and goes someplace else. Outside of being an extreme menace to humanity, they are very interesting to observe.

          • Alex M

            Yes, unfortunately there’s enough instability in enough countries that we ould end up destroying them in one country only for them to pop up in another.
            In Libya they’ve been pushed back to the city of Sirte where they’re eventually going to fall to the Government of National Accord.
            In Iraq their territories are going to end up portioned between Iraqi Kurdistan and the Shi’ite government of Iraq in Baghdad.
            In Nigeria they’ve lost all actual territory but still launch deadly terror attacks.
            In Syria it’s going to be especially hard to defeat them because of the unresolved nature of the Syrian Civil War.
            In Afghanistan they’ve got stiff competition from both the government in Kabul and the Taliban (with a similar story playing out in Pakistan).
            The best thing we can do is discredit their Islamist ideology, defeat them militarily, create stable prosperous and free societies in their place (like Rojava) and do our best to combat this evil ideology.

  • The globalist NATO want’s to keep Raqqa out of Syrian hands. And the Kurd’s want to break off as big of chunk away from Syria as possible. This is way the globalist forces want to take Raqqa before Syria can liberate it. Once commie-Kurd’s conquer territory (like they are trying to do in Iran right now) they rarely give it up.

  • Hanny Benny

    Maybe they think to wait a little before the cut the full support of ISIS from Raqqa to north, because IS fight also other caliphatists..
    From the other side maybe its very important to stop them earler as later..
    In every case the first to do is to make a 90% closure to Al-Bab..

    Glory to the democratic forces!
    The “sane” western people know you!!

  • MahmudH

    Why show a female peshmerga soldier? We all know the fighting is being done by US special forces.

  • John

    The pronouncement by Lt. Gen McFarland is unadultered propaganda. He announced that ‘it sets the stage for something, in the future’, the end of IS by his hands?

    Dear sir, please don’t try to make a living foretelling the future or halfheartedly threatening ISIS. Besides, the rest of us hear enough untruthfulness on the day to day anyway. So general, with all due respect, please give us a break and just take the opportunity to say nothing at all now and then. :)