US officials in the past few days have kept talking up an imminent invasion of the ISIS capital city of Raqqa, despite so much focus presently on Mosul, and despite the obvious huge problems its going to cause between Turkey and the Kurdish YPG.
Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, the US commander in Iraq, insists the US has decided it doesn’t have a choice in the matter, and feels a “sense of urgency” to take over Raqqa before any of the ISIS leadership in that city is able to plan any retaliatory strikes against Western targets.
“We’ve got to get to Raqqa pretty soon,” Townsend insisted, claiming that the capture of Manbij a couple of months ago uncovered ISIS plots to attack France and the US, and they are convinced even more plots are ongoing within Raqqa.
ISIS is estimated to have around 4,000 troops in Raqqa, and the attack will require the Kurdish YPG to commit substantial portions of its force to the area. That’s problematic, because Turkey has in the past attacked them when they were fighting ISIS, and has warned the US not to allow any Kurds into Raqqa.