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.
Iraqi civilians are said to be enduring dire conditions after fleeing the Mosul area as the army attempts to retake the city from Islamic State (IS). Some 5,000 people have crossed the border into Syria in the last 10 days, the aid agency Save the Children says. They have arrived at the al-Hol refugee camp where conditions are already reported to be filthy and overcrowded. Up to 1.5 million civilians are thought to still be in Mosul. The whereabouts of IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi are unknown. Some reports say he is in Mosul; others say he has fled.