The long road to Raqqa

The Raqqa offensive (codenamed Operation Wrath of Euphrates), is an ongoing military operation launched by the Syrian Democratic Forces against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in the Raqqa Governorate, with the goal of isolating and eventually capturing the Islamic State’s capital city, Raqqa. Another one of the main goals is to capture the Tabqa Dam and the nearby city of Al-Thawrah. The offensive has also been dubbed the Battle to End All Battles in the War on ISIL. The offensive is concurrent with the Turkish anti-ISIL Battle of al-Bab, the Battle of Mosul in Iraq, the Battle of Sirte (2016) in Libya, the Palmyra offensive (December 2016) launched by ISIL, and a reignition of fighting in Deir ez-Zor’s siege.

Islamic State’s last stand in Sirte

The Battle of Sirte (2016) refers to the battle in the spring of 2016, in the region of Sirte, Libya, between the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the forces of the Government of National Accord (GNA). ISIL forces had captured Sirte one year earlier, during the previous battle.
  

Fighting intensifies in Libya

The Libyan National Army has been carrying out air strikes on areas of Benghazi under the control of the Shura Council of Benghazi Revolutionaries, including the city’s Ganfouda district. The strikes have endangered the lives of scores of detainees who are being held captive in Benghazi, according to Amnesty International. On the weekend, Libyan forces also said that they had edged further into the centre of Sirte, seeking to recapture the city from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group (ISIL, also known as ISIS). Their advance came after heavy fighting the previous night, which killed dozens of people. Since last year, Sirte has become ISIL’s most important base outside Syria and Iraq, and its loss would be a major setback for the group.

A girl walks past the site after a suicide car bomb attack in Iraq

A girl walks past the site after a suicide car bomb attack at the shopping area of Karrada, a largely Shi’ite district, in Baghdad, Iraq.