U.S.-backed forces push back Islamic State in Raqqa campaign – officials

By John Davison BEIRUT (Reuters) – U.S.-backed forces fighting Islamic State in Syria advanced to within 2 km (1 mile) of a key stronghold near the jihadist group’s de facto capital of Raqqa on Tuesday, and a counter-attack by the militants was repulsed, officials said. The multi-phased campaign by the Syria Democratic Forces (SDF), backed by air strikes and military advisers from a U.S.-led coalition, ultimately aims to oust Islamic State from Raqqa. Officials have given different estimates for how long the campaign will take, and the assault on Raqqa itself appears to have been delayed, after one high-ranking military official said it would begin at the start of April.

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