According to The New York Times several ISIS field commanders left Raqqa, fearing an immediate offensive against them. According to the publication, the commanders who left Raqqa intend to move to other “safer” cities of Syria and Iraq.
In turn, according to Reuters, ISIS leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi hides in the Iraqi desert, and tries not to appear in militant strongholds. Sources of the agency suggested that he can move from place to place several times a day, stopping at the homes of civilians in militant-controlled villages.
The flight of terrorists from Raqqa is not accidental. It is likely that the so-called international coalition gives militants an opportunity to save their lives. Thus might be explained the constant statements about the beginning of the “anti-terrorist” operation in Raqqa. Obviously, the Americans want to warn militants about their actions and give them the opportunity to escape and consolidate in other cities.