By ISW Syria Team and Syria Direct
Key Takeaway: U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter stated on October 25 that coalition operations against IS in Ar-Raqqa City will begin “within weeks” and “overlap” with ongoing operations to seize Mosul in Northern Iraq. The statement comes one day after Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) Representative to Paris Khaled Issa stated that “conditions are not in place” for an operation to seize Ar-Raqqa City, stressing that the Syrian Kurdish YPG could not participate in the offensive amidst ongoing clashes with opposition groups backed by Turkey in Operation Euphrates Shield in Northern Aleppo Province. Meanwhile, pro-regime forces resumed their offensive operations in Aleppo City on October 23 after the end of three eleven-hour ‘humanitarian pauses’ implemented by Russia and Syria. The truces ended without any significant evacuations of civilians or opposition fighters from Eastern Aleppo City.