IS declares emergency in self-declared capital

Washington, May 14 (IANS) The Islamic State (IS) terror group has declared a state of emergency in their self-declared capital Raqqa in Syria, a US official announced.

“We have seen this declaration of emergency in Raqqa, whatever that means,” Steve Warren, the spokesman for the US-led anti-IS coalition, told CNN on Friday.

“We know this enemy feels threatened, as they should,” Warren said.

Reports have indicated that IS is moving personnel around the city and trying to put up covers in certain areas to shield potential targets from airstrikes and ground attacks.

“They see the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), along with the Syrian Arab Coalition, maneuver both to their east and to their west,” Warren said.

“Both of these areas becoming increasingly secure, and the SDF increasingly able to generate their own combat power in those areas.”

SDF spokesman Tajir Kobani announced earlier this week that commanders of the SDF-affiliated groups in Northern Syria had coordinated plans for a joint final operation for liberating Raqqa from the IS.

The US military have also detected the movement of fighters throughout Raqqa which could give overhead surveillance aircraft an improved chance of finding and targeting them.

Meanwhile, it is not clear if IS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi still remains in or around Raqqa.

However, the military are monitoring any potential intelligence that he could be in other locations as well.

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