Pentagon cites evidence of Islamic State ‘exodus’ from Raqqa
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.”