An alliance of Syrian Kurdish and Arab fighters have forced the Islamic State out of Raqqa, the so-called caliphate’s former capital.
It took the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) five months to take control of the city, which had been taken over by IS in January 2014. The operation involved 15,000 SDF fighters supported by a major air campaign by the US-led anti-IS coalition.
A clearing operation is now underway to uncover any possible IS sleeper cells, clear any landmines, and make the city safe.
SDF spokesman Talal Sello told AFP on Tuesday afternoon that “everything is finished in Raqqa, our forces have taken full control”. The alliance is expected to make a victory announcement about the city soon.
Last week, IS’ Syrian jihadists were evacuated from the city with their families under a deal agreed with tribal elders, but more than 300 foreign fighters are believed to have made their last stand in Raqqa’s hospital and stadium on Sunday.