On 6th June 2017, the Kurdish-Arab Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) coalition began its campaign to take back the city of Raqqa, the Islamic State’s de-facto capital, in an Operation codenamed Wrath of Euphrates.
Mr Rickli foresees the battle of Raqqa being fierce but short-lived compared to Iraqi forces’ attempt to take back the city of Mosul, which has been on-going since late 2016. He attributes this to the smaller size of Raqqa combined with the fact that there are fewer jihadists involved in the battle.
Unfortunately, he predicts that the physical defeat of the Caliphate will not be enough to solve the physical and ideological presence of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Following the defeat of the Caliphate, Mr Rickli envisages a war of influence between the various parties involved in the conflict in Syria. We are already starting to see the beginning of this through recent skirmishes between the US-backed SDF and the Syrian regime supported by Russia and Iran.
Mr Rickli's Analysis on the Start of the Battle for Raqqa: