ISIS terrorist group threatens the U.S.-led campaign in Raqqa
U.S.-backed Syrian forces have for months announced their intentions to retake Raqqa, ISIS self-declared capital and most important stronghold in Syria. But as the deadlines for military action have come and gone, ISIS has issued its own threat in the form of a new propaganda video depicting soldiers which it said had been trained to battle the devil: President Trump.
Weve trained our brothers to fight the infidels, specifically America, says an armed masked fighter in the heavily produced 22-minute ISIS propaganda video. I want to deliver a message to America: we are waiting for you infidels in the land of Muslims. Weve trained men who love death in the name of Allah more than you love this life.
The videos narrator adds that Trump promised his supporters an illusion of victory against ISIS, referring to a clip in which then-candidate Trump promised to defeat radical Islamic terrorism, just as we have defeated every threat we have faced in every age before at a campaign rally in Ohio last August.
The ISIS video features graphic footage of beheadings of four alleged Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters the United States ground ally in northern Syria captured by ISIS. Battles between ISIS and the SDF are portrayed against special effects and a pathos-filled soundtrack.
The video was released early Saturday, following reports that ISIS moved its capital from Raqqa to Deir e-Zour, the largest city in eastern Syria, U.S. defense officials told Fox News. Since November, the U.S.-backed offensive to retake the city has only reached the outskirts of the key ISIS-held town of Tabqa, west of Raqqa.
But experts say that as bloody as the U.S. coalition fight in the urban battlefield has been, a U.S.-led fight against ISIS in Raqqa could lead to an even grislier war of attrition.
In Iraq, the U.S-backed offensive to retake the ISIS stronghold in Mosul is now trudging into its seventh month. Eastern Mosul was liberated last January, but progress on the other side of the Tigris River has been slower.
Raqqa will be worse, because the forces attacking it will have no centralized command and control and even less expertise in urban fighting than the Iraqis, wrote retired Pentagon consultant Colonel Gary Anderson in Foreign Policy. It is shaping up the be the proverbial knife fight in a phone booth.