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Islamic State 'bureaucrats' fleeing stronghold in Syria

February 17, 2017 20:53

WASHINGTON - Islamic State administrators and bureaucrats have started to flee the militant group's Syrian stronghold of Raqqa as a US-backed alliance works to isolate the city, a Pentagon official said on Friday.

"A lot of their administrators and bureaucrats now are beginning the process of leaving Raqqa and moving their operations further down river," Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis told reporters.

"So they have definitely taken note of the fact that the end is near in Raqqa and we are seeing now an exodus of their leadership," Davis said.

He did not specify how many Islamic State members were leaving or what exact roles they played, but said the withdrawal seemed to be organized and of their non-combatant "support people."

A US-backed alliance of Syrian Kurdish and Arab fighters also said on Friday it was launching new attacks against Islamic State, after capturing dozens of villages in the latest phase of a battle to weaken the jihadists in their Syrian strongholds.

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