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.