Dreaded terror group Islamic State appears to be on the verge of being defeated in the key stronghold of Syria. The militant outfit has declared a state of emergency in their self-declared capital Raqqa in Syria.
According to a senior US official involved in anti-ISIS operations, ISIS is moving personnel around the city and trying to put up covers in certain areas to shield potential targets from airstrikes and ground attacks.
“We have seen this declaration of emergency in Raqqa, whatever that means. We know this enemy feels threatened, as they should,” Steve Warren, the spokesman for the US-led anti-ISIS coalition, said on Friday.
“They see the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), along with the Syrian Arab Coalition, manoeuvre both to their east and to their west,” Warren said.
“Both of these areas becoming increasingly secure, and the SDF increasingly able to generate their own combat power in those areas.”
SDF spokesman Tajir Kobani announced earlier this week that commanders of the SDF-affiliated groups in Northern Syria had coordinated plans for a joint final operation for liberating Raqqa from the ISIS.
The US military have also detected the movement of fighters throughout Raqqa which could give overhead surveillance aircraft an improved chance of finding and targeting them.
Meanwhile, it is not clear if ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi still remains in or around Raqqa. However, the military are monitoring any potential intelligence that he could be in other locations as well.
“Baghdadi remains extremely careful about his personal security,” a US defense official said, adding that America US will continue to try to find him.