2,000 ISIS militants still in Syria’s Raqqa and ‘they will likely die there’
The Kurdish-Syrian alliance battling to recapture Raqqa from ISIS has now seized about 45 percent of the militants' Syria stronghold, a top US official said Friday.
The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces militia (SDF) began a campaign to capture Raqqa from ISIS last year, slowly encircling the city before breaking into it for the first time in June.
"As of today, the SDF has seized about 45 percent," of Raqqa, said Brett McGurk, the senior US envoy to the international coalition fighting ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
The recapture of Raqqa would mark a major milestone in the three-year effort to defeat ISIS.
The militants were ousted from their main Iraqi bastion of Mosul last month.
Still, the Raqqa battle is far from over, with thousands of ISIS militants remaining.
"I'm always hesitant to give numbers like that because this is an inexact science, but we think there's about 2,000 fighters left in Raqqa -- and they most likely will die in Raqqa," McGurk said.
The United Nations estimates between 20,000 to 50,000 civilians may still be in the city, though other estimates are lower.
US-backed Syria force advances in south of ISIS bastion RaqqaUS-backed forces battling to oust ISIS from its Syrian bastion Raqqa have advanced in the city’s south, seizing a new neighborhood, a spokesman ... Middle East
UN says over 200,000 have fled Syria’s Raqqa since AprilOver 200,000 civilians have fled their homes in Syria around the Islamic State group’s de facto capital of Raqqa since April 1, including over ... Middle East
Raqqa: 29 civilians dead in US-led air strikesA barrage of US-led coalition air strikes killed 29 civilians on Wednesday in Syria’s Raqqa, half of which is still held by ISIS, a monitor said ... Middle East
Syrian army, allies advance against ISIS east of RaqqaSyrian government forces and their allies have recaptured territory from ISIS in countryside southeast of its stronghold Raqqa after air strikes in ... Middle East
Syrian army takes more oil fields from ISIS in Raqqa and eastern desertThe Syrian army backed by heavy Russian air strikes seized a string of oil wells in southwest Raqqa province on Saturday, as retreating ISIS militants ... Middle East