The offensive to retake Raqqa was heralded as the final nail in Islamic State’s coffin.
But a month after U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced the pending operation, Washington’s ally on the ground, a Kurdish-dominated militia alliance, remains bogged down in the first phase, seeking only to isolate the Syrian de facto capital of the Islamic State (IS) group.
U.S. airstrikes still appear focused on the surrounding province, hitting oil wellheads controlled by the militants, and tankers and other facilities used by the terror group to store and smuggle oil to Turkey.
IS defense positions in Raqqa’s surrounding villages have remained largely undamaged by U.S. and Western warplanes. – READ MORE