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US expects anti-ISIL Mosul and Raqqa offensives to overlap

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By Euronews
US expects anti-ISIL Mosul and Raqqa offensives to overlap

As Iraqi forces edge closer to Mosul in Iraq, anti-ISIL coalition members discussed preparations for an overlapping offensive on the extremists’ Syrian stronghold, Raqqa. Coalition forces began their assault to take the last major Iraqi city under IS control last week.

Assessing the current progress, the French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said:

ISIL did not fall but it is faltering. So we must increase our efforts. The future loss of Mosul, Iraq’s second city, will be a serious setback for ISIL”.

The US Defense Secretary said simultaneous assaults were not far off.

“Today we, as members of the coalition, resolve to follow through with that same sense of urgency and focus on the enveloping and collapsing ISIL control over Raqqa as well. In fact, we’ve already begun laying the groundwork with our partners to commence the isolation of Raqqa”.

The coalition fears ISIL fighters fleeing Mosul are already re-grouping in Raqqa. France is particularly concerned about returning jihadists after high-profile attacks in the past two years.