by Saagar Enjeti
Islamic State fighters captured in the Battle for Raqqa show signs of intravenous amphetamine injection and malnourishment, Operation Inherent Resolve spokesman Army Col. Ryan Dillon told reporters Wednesday.
U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) now control approximately 55 percent of the ISIS capital but expect the fight to continue for months to come. Dillon highlighted the groups use of IV amphetamines as a “a telling sign of their desperation,” noting that it appeared it the fighters needed the drug to stay alert throughout the fight.
The ISIS fighters plight will only continue to worsen. Dillon explained that “as central services shut off, as water shuts off, as ability for food to come in and out diminishes, it makes it very very difficult to sustain oneself.”
Dillon also noted that Coalition troops observed the ISIS fighters when they were captured before the terrorists were transferred to the custody of the SDF. SDF fighters have made a 5 percent gain of territory since Aug. 10, but U.S. military commanders refuse to a put a timeline on operations, noting that efforts to retake Mosul took far longer than originally expected.
U.S. operations to retake Raqqa have been active for nearly two months, but the longest phase of the operation is still come, SDF commanders warn.
“It could take another three to four months to finish Raqqa,” a Kurdish commander recently told Reuters. “They’ve laid many mines, that’s one of the biggest difficulties. As for car bombs, they don’t use them every day, but if our forces are advancing down a street, then they deploy them.”
The terrorist group’s prolific use of human shields, concentration of fighters in heavily-defended positions, and insurgent tactics are the same conditions which drew out U.S.-backed Iraqi Security Force operations to retake the city of Mosul. The SDF do not, however, have the advantage of being a sovereign government with an established security infrastructure.
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