From New York Times article, Washington states “As Syrian Fighters backed by the United States close in on Raqqa, some of the Islamic State’s Leaders have fled their self-declared capital and are planning to carry on the fight other sanctuaries in Syria and Iraq.” American Defense Officials say that there are still an estimated 3,000 to 4,000 fighters remain, but are retreating slowly. The United States Marine Artillery, has been deployed in Syria.
Retreating ISIS leaders, points towards their defeat in Raqqa, but will resume warfare else ware. The Official’s hint towards the Islamic forces losing “territory”, but will proceed to revolt.
An estimated amount of 2,500 forces of the Islamic are still defending the western Mosul region. And have been named “militarily ineffective”. The Officials also noted that the Islamic State had enough supplies to keep fighting. A contributing factor could be that they stole weapons and resources, back in 2014.
In October the Islamic force had a thousand strong, in the push for Mosul. Hawija, a town the Islamic forces passed by, is being used by Syria as a “springboard for the counter attack”. As it is stated in the article by the New York Times.
Syrian towns such as Mayadeen, and Abu Kamal are Islamic stronghold, that are in use, should the Islamic forces lose Raqqa. And Islamic State Leaders, also have other plans if they lose Raqqa.
If Syria was to take Raqqa, being the 2nd largest city under the Islamic States control, would give a So called”body blow” to the Islamic forces, and would show a loss of power, since Raqqa is a large symbol of it.
From a senior official,on the Washington post article, he stated”The lesson learned from Libya and Iraq is that you better have a plan B force or you are asking for trouble.”