US Estimates 2,000 ISIS Fighters Left in Raqqa

US Envoy: Fighters 'Most Likely Will Die'

Brett McGurk, the US Special Envoy for the ISIS War, offered a new assessment of the ongoing US-backed invasion of the ISIS capital city of Raqqa, saying that the US believes about 2,000 ISIS fighters remain in the city, and that the Kurds have cleared just about 45% of the city overall.

Raqqa, before the Syrian War, was a city of about 200,000 people, and is doubtless far smaller after months of fighting and refugee exoduses. As for the 2,000 ISIS that remain, McGurk says they “most likely will die” in the course of the occupation of the city.

McGurk said that the ISIS fighters in the city are “fighting for their own survival,” and putting up heavy resistance. It’s worth noting that the US has publicly said they don’t have plans for what to do with former ISIS fighters after the war, because they figure on killing them all, which doesn’t leave a lot of room for surrender.

Though McGurk claimed ISIS had lost 70,000 square kilometers of territory in the course of the US war, this figure is largely meaningless, as it includes vast swathes of uninhabited desert in eastern Iraq, which was arbitrarily assigned to ISIS before, and arbitrarily declared liberated since.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of