The Islamic State pledged over the weekend to bring an arduous fight to U.S.-led coalition forces battling to retake Raqqa, once the terrorist group’s de facto capital in Syria.

An ISIS military commander warned Sunday in an interview with the group’s English-language Rumiyah magazine that the Raqqa offensive will be “a fire that burns the Cross and its people, gives honor to the Islamic State, and raises its banner.”

The unnamed commander threatened “a harsh lesson for the enemies of Allah,” singling out the American-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, made up primarily of Arab and Kurdish fighters, according to SITE Intelligence Group, which tracks extremist propaganda.

ISIS also downplayed its recent defeat in Mosul, formerly a key stronghold for the group in Iraq, describing the nine-month battle as an exemplifier of the militants’ “steadfastness, perseverance, and conviction in the face of disbelief.”

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