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Raqqa fight 'will accelerate as IS loses grip on Mosul'

The fight for Raqqa, Islamic State's de facto capital in Syria, will "only accelerate" as the militants lose their grip on the Iraqi city of Mosul, a senior US official has said.

Brett McGurk, the US envoy for the global coalition against IS, said America and its local allies, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, are prepared for a protracted fight for the northern Syrian city.

The jihadist group is now locked in twin battles for its key strongholds, Raqqa and Mosul.

The SDF launched its attack on Raqqa on Tuesday and has already captured a neighbourhood in the city's eastern end.

Iraqi forces have been battling IS in Mosul since October.

Speaking in Baghdad, Mr McGurk said the fight for Raqqa will be a "difficult and very long-term battle".

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