U.S.-backed forces have advanced roughly 5 kilometers, or 3.1 miles, in the northern Syrian city of Raqqa over the past week, pushing back Islamic State militants in a grueling offensive to seize the terrorist group’s last significant stronghold.
Army Col. Ryan Dillon, a spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition battling ISIS, told the Washington Free Beacon that although Syrian Democratic Forces now control 55 percent of the city, the military expects difficult fighting ahead.
Dillon said at a Pentagon briefing earlier this month that SDF troops were steadily closing in on ISIS fighters, but acknowledged progress had slowed from the first two weeks of the operation when the Kurdish-led forces achieved rapid territorial gains.
In the 11 weeks since the SDF began the offensive to retake Raqqa, ISIS has taken advantage of the closely spaced buildings and tight streets of the city to plant large IEDs in an attempt to stave off coalition advances.
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