The Islamic State (ISIS) has held Raqqa, Syria, for four years and made it the the group’s de facto capital. That appears to have ended as US-backed Syrian forces have declared they retook the city from the terrorists. From CNN:
“Major military operations in Raqqa are finished but they are now clearing the city of sleeper cells — if they exist — and mines,” Talal Salo, spokesman for the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, told CNN. The SDF is a coalition of Arab and Kurdish fighters.
“The situation in Raqqa is under control and soon there will be an official statement declaring the liberation of the city.”
The SDF with “members of the joint Kurdish-Arab force were clearing the city explosive devices and hunting for sleeper cells.” Videos have shown the forces dancing and celebrating in the streets.
The operation to retake Raqqa began in June when SDF advanced “on foot as U.S.-led coalition airstrikes pummeled the militants down below.” ISIS terrorists attempted “a final stand” this past weekend when they launched an attack from the main hospital and stadium.
Ironically, one of the last battles took place at Paradise Square, which is where ISIS preferred to show off its brutality for those who remained in the city. The terrorists announced public executions over loudspeakers and forced the citizens to watch as the militants committed beheadings and crucifixions.
In March 2013, rebels against Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad took over Raqqa, but these groups eventually splintered. One group named itself the Islamist State of Iraq and al-Sham…ISIS. When more and more people fell in line with this group, ISIS declared Raqqa its capitol of its caliphate as it spread its mayhem and murder into Iraq. They officially took control of Raqqa in January 2014.
ISIS executed American journalist James Foley in the mountains just south of Raqqa. The executioner, known as Jihadi John, executed other Westerners, but died in U.S. drone strike.
Unfortunately the city is ruined. CNN reported that there have been “3,829 airstrikes on the city, 90 suicide bombings and 1,873 victims” while “450,000 people had been displaced.”
— Jenan Moussa (@jenanmoussa) October 17, 2017
— OIR Spokesman (@OIRSpox) October 17, 2017
ISIS leaving Raqqa hospital. Cowards until the end… pic.twitter.com/sE6K3nPgHh
— Macer Gifford (@macergifford) October 17, 2017
— Amina Hussein (@aminahekmet) October 17, 2017
— The Times of Israel (@TimesofIsrael) October 16, 2017
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