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Raqqa’s liberation does not spell downfall of IS, expert says

October 23, 12:31 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The expert pointed to the terrorists' activities stepping up in Egypt, the Sinai and the Giza Governorate

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© EPA-EFE/YOUSSEF RABIH YOUSSEF

MOSCOW, October 23. /TASS/. Raqqa’s liberation from IS (terrorist group, outlawed in Russia) marks a key victory in the war on terror, but does not mean that the terror group has collapsed, in addition the capture of the city by the Kurds exacerbates the situation, President of the Institute of Religion and Policy Alexander Ignatenko said in a conversation with TASS on Wednesday.

"Both yes and no," he said, responding to a question on whether Raqqa’s liberation meant IS was defeated. "Yes, regarding the fact that Raqqa has fallen as the ‘caliphate’s’ capital. Now Raqqa is passing into the hands of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). And no, when looking at the fact that Raqqa was just one among many vilayets that IS fanned out across the world."

The expert pointed to the terrorists' activities stepping up in Egypt, the Sinai and the Giza Governorate. In one of such district, clashes left 16 police officers dead at the end of the previous week, according to official reports. Also, he noted that terrorism was on the rise in Marawi, Philippines. "Besides these flashpoints, there are about four dozens more vilayets," he noted.

The expert noted that IS opted for "remaining and expanding," as stated in its motto. "This slogan means that IS constantly is expanding," he continued. "The following is happening: IS centers are shifting from Syria’s Raqqa and Iraq’s Mosul to other places. Now these centers are moving to Egypt. Some suggest they may be moving and are already moving to Afghanistan."

"So, well, yes, we can celebrate a victory, but this is a victory in round one," Ignatenko stressed.

The Kurdish question

Raqqa’s retaking from the terrorists by the SDF forces, which mostly consist of Kurdish units, with the help of air cover from the US-led anti-terror coalition, played an important role in the developments of the situation, the expert said. "The Kurds say that the entire Raqqa Governorate would be added to the Federation of Northern Syria, that is, to the Kurdish territories," he said. "They used to say, by the way, that the one who retook [the city] will administer it, meaning Raqqa."

"The Americans seem to be encouraging them pushing them to split Syria apart," the expert said. "There will be some difficulties, problems and conflicts there," he added.

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