The Battle of Raqqa is the fifth and final phase of the Raqqa campaign launched by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) de facto capital in the city of Raqqa.
The battle began on 6 June 2017, and is being supported by airstrikes and ground troops from the US-led coalition.
The operation was named the “Great Battle” by the SDF. The battle ran concurrently with the Battle of Mosul, although it started 6 months earlier, as part of an effort by the CJTF–OIR and its allies to strip ISIL of its regional centers of power, and to dismantle it as an organization controlling territory.
Raqqa, also called Raqa, Rakka, al-Raqqah, and ar-Raqqah, is a city in Syria located on the northeast bank of the Euphrates River, about 160 kilometres (99 miles) east of Aleppo. It is located 40 kilometres (25 miles) east of the Tabqa Dam, Syria’s largest dam.
The Raqqa campaign (codenamed Operation Wrath of Euphrates) is an ongoing military operation launched by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in the Raqqa Governorate, with the goal of isolating and eventually capturing the Islamic State’s capital city, Raqqa.
The SDF also completed their other main goals and captured the Tabqa Dam, the nearby city of al-Thawrah, and the Baath Dam further downstream.
The offensive is concurrent with the Battle of al-Bab in the Aleppo governorate, the Battle of Mosul in Iraq, the Battle of Sirte (2016) in Libya, the Palmyra offensive (2017), and a reignition of fighting in Deir ez-Zor’s siege.
The SDF is dominated by the Kurdish YPG militia, which follows the leftist ideology of Abdullah Ocalan, the leader of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) that has fought a three-decade insurgency in Turkey.
Islamic State has lost large expanses of territory in Syria over the last year to separate campaigns waged by the SDF, the Russian-backed Syrian military, and Turkey-backed Syrian rebels.