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How close are we to a solution in Syria?

As the Syrian Democratic Forces launch a new phase in the operation to liberate the city of Raqqa from Islamic State control, many questions remain about the military and political situation on the ground.
A Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighter watches a convoy of his forces advancing in the north of Raqqa city, Syria February 5, 2017. REUTERS/Rodi Said - RTX2ZOUT

On Feb. 4, Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) launched the third phase of the operation to liberate Raqqa, which had begun on Nov. 4, 2016. Named Operation Euphrates Shield, this operation's second phase began on Dec. 10, 2016, and many settlements have been liberated. The goal of the third phase of the operation is to capture Raqqa's city center.

The SDF commanders in the region who spoke to Al-Monitor say liberating Raqqa will be easier than militarily seizing Manbij. The operation has been going on for four months and is expected to continue until the summer.

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