Pen­tagon cites ev­i­dence of Is­lamic State ‘ex­o­dus’ from Raqqa

Cape Breton Post - - WORLD -

WASH­ING­TON — A month­s­long cam­paign to iso­late and pres­sure the Is­lamic State group’s self-de­clared cap­i­tal of Raqqa, Syria, is pay­ing off as the ad­min­is­tra­tive back­bone of the mil­i­tant or­ga­ni­za­tion is be­gin­ning to crack, the Pen­tagon said Fri­day.

IS lead­ers “are be­gin­ning the process of leav­ing Raqqa and mov­ing their op­er­a­tions far­ther down­river,” said Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pen­tagon spokesman. He said an un­spec­i­fied num­ber of IS “bu­reau­crats” are head­ing east along the north bank of the Euphrates River to­ward Deir el-Zour, be­cause they see “the end is near in Raqqa.”

“We are see­ing now an ex­o­dus of their lead­er­ship,” Davis said, adding: “This seems to be a very or­ga­nized, or­derly with­drawal of a lot of their non-com­bat­ant sup­port peo­ple.”

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