ISIS declares state of emergency in its capital Raqqa
Islamic State forces are preparing for an extended seige of its capital Raqqa as two forces close in on the city from the east and west. Social media reports say that the terrorists have declared a state of emergency and are working feverishly to protect key potential targets.
“They see the Syrian Democratic Forces, along with the Syrian Arab Coalition, maneuver both to their east and to their west," Warren said. "Both of these areas becoming increasingly secure, and the Syrian Democratic Forces increasingly able to generate their own combat power in those areas."
The coalition believes ISIS is now responding to those maneuvers.
"We've had reports of ISIL repositioning both their combat capabilities, I guess what they think may be coming next," Warren said, using another name for ISIS. "And we've seen reports of them repositioning personnel ... either within the city or even out of the city."
U.S. military also note the movement of fighters who have been well dug in throughout Raqqa could give overhead surveillance aircraft an improved chance of finding and targeting them.
The fortunes of ISIS have changed in the last few months, as the international coalition has gradually put pressure on ISIS economic assets, drying up their sources of income. And Turkey has taken a far more active military role in the fight, shelling ISIS targets near its border.
But, as factionalism among rebels continues to hinder the effort to defeat ISIS on the battlefield, the Syrian government is targeting the very same forces that are lining up to beseige Raqqa. It seems unlikely that ISIS can be dislodged from their stronghold as long as opposition to them is so divided.