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International balance of forces in Syria after Raqqa's liberation unclear yet – expert
It is difficult to say yet how the liberation of Syria's Raqqa that used to be the key stronghold of the Islamic State (IS, terror group, outlawed in Russia) will affect the international balance of forces of Syria, Semyon Bagdasarov, Head of the Center for the Middle East and Central Asia Studies, told TASS on Friday.
"It is difficult to talk about the changes in the international balance of forces after Raqqa's liberation yet," he noted. "The spheres of influence have not been divided yet. Syria has been fragmented into many pieces."
The expert noted though that it is next to impossible to put everything together now. "The Jabhat al-Nusra (terror group, outlawed in Russia - TASS) has not been defeated yet, Syria's southeastern part is not controlled," he noted. "The most important thing is to make sure that the war does not continue in another form."
The offensive to recapture Raqqa began on June 6. The terrorists were surrounded in the central part of the city on September 21 putting up fierce resistance. Before the final stage of the operation most civilians left the city. On October 17, the remaining Islamic State militants were driven out of the al-Watani hospital where their headquarters was located and the city stadium, which was used as a military camp and a prison.
[Source: Itar Tass, Moscow, 20Oct17]
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