Diplomats plan for the fall of Isis, as Kurdish and Arab fighters continue to push forward into the terror group’s Syrian stronghold

US-backed forces encircling Raqqa expect the fight to oust the remnants of Islamic State from its most symbolic Syrian stronghold to take at least three months, despite rapid advances towards the city centre this week.

The advance met with fierce resistance on Wednesday, as Isis fighters used an eighth-century fortified wall as a buffer against Kurdish and Arab fighters known as the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), who had been claiming neighbourhoods of the city, while steadily closing in from its surrounds.

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