ISIS has ‘fallen’ in Iraq and is now hanging on by a thread in its last stronghold
On the same day the Iraqi army retook Mosul’s grand mosque and declared Isis’ reign in the country to be over, US-backed Kurdish forces managed to cut off all escape lines from Isis’ last stronghold – the Syrian city of Raqqa.
Isis is now completely besieged after the Kurdish-Arab Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) coalition managed to push towards the last remaining stretch of the bank of the Euphrates opposite the city which serves as the militants’ de facto capital.
War monitor the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that Isis launched a fierce counter attack on the SDF-held industrial districts in the city’s east on Friday, retaking three neighbourhoods.
The battle for Isis’s last city has dovetailed with the campaign for Mosul – and like the fight for the Iraqi city, could be long and bloody.
Fighters on the ground have been slowly tightening the siege around jihadi militants in the northern city since November, assisted by coalition air strikes.
Several foreign volunteers make up their number – including 27-year-old Briton Kimmie Taylor, who fights with the Women’s Protection Units (YPJ).
“I know a lot of friends will die, especially in the city – it’s going to be a bloodbath,” the 27-year-old told The Independent before the assault on Raqqa began in earnest earlier this month.