Raqqa in Syria is the center of the Islamic State, the headquarters from which worldwide attacks are being planned and the efforts to create a new caliphate in the Middle East. The town is, therefore, the prime target for President Trump’s plans to destroy ISIS, the terrorist army that has rocked the world with its atrocities. The project to take Raqqa has begun to take shape, according to the Washington Post, and it involves the introduction of more American helicopter gunships and artillery units to support a fragile coalition of Syrian Arab and Kurdish fighters that will be the ground troops that will take the town.

Also, certain restrictions in the air bombing campaign designed to avoid civilian casualties will be lifted.

The Raqqa Campaign will be tough

Even with increased American support, the campaign to take Raqqa is likely to be a long and bloody one, just like the similar effort to liberate Mosul, the largest ISIS-held city in Iraq. The ISIS fighters are fanatical and will likely wage war to the death rather than surrender as their position becomes increasingly tenuous. The strategy to surround and isolate Raqqa to prevent ISIS fighters from fading into the countryside to wage guerilla war will also be time-consuming.

Syria is a hot mess of warring factions and shifting alliances

Complicating the Raqqa Campaign is the fact that Syria is a morass of warring factions, some supported by outside powers such as the United States, Russia, Turkey, and Iran.

Alliances have an unfortunate tendency to shift according to circumstance and mood. Cobbling together something that resembles peace in Syria ranges, according to most analysts, from difficult to well-nigh impossible.

America will try not to get into a quagmire while still trying to enforce the peace.

The United States has to strike some sort of balance that avoids a bloody quagmire, as well as chaos, brought one by too quick a withdraw after military operations have been concluded.

Iraq taught both lessons. The post-invasion mistakes that were made under President George W. Bush resulted in a year's long insurgency that sapped American strength and will and was only ended by the surge. President Obama’s precipitous withdraw from Iraq created a vacuum that was filled by ISIS, with the results now seen. Clearly, there must not be a repeat in Syria.