There are reports that Syrian Kurdish forces are attacking Raqqa, the capital of the Islamic State. This was expected. What was not expected are reports that Syrian government forces are preparing to attack the city as well.
Reports from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and Al-Masdar News said the Syrian army has crossed into Raqqa province and is garrisoned roughly 50 miles from the city. But according to an unconfirmed report by Lebanese Al Mayadeen TV, the army has actually reached the city itself.
The assaults, nearly simultaneous, cannot be coincidence. The Syrian government and the Kurds are either cooperating to defeat IS or are competing to see who can defeat it first. Since the government of Bashar Assad would surely know about a Kurdish offensive, and since a competition to retake Raqqa would be dangerous for all parties, cooperation is the likely explanation.
Members of the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces stand in the village of Hazima on the northe