The Syrian Democratic Forces, backed by the United States, on Tuesday said it had fully recaptured Raqqa, the Islamic State group’s stronghold, BBC reported. The SDF said the fighting in Raqqa was over after four months.
The SDF, an alliance of the Syrian Kurdish and Arab fighters, raised a militia flag inside the Raqqa stadium on Tuesday, Reuters reported. “The military operations in Raqqa have finished, but there are clearing operations now under way to uncover any sleeper cells there might be and remove mines,” SDF spokesperson Talal Sello told AFP.
The Islamic State group had seized Raqqa in early 2014 and made the city its headquarters. The militant group conducted beheadings and crucifixions to terrorise those citizens who opposed its rule. The SDF has been fighting the militants in Raqqa since June.
The Islamic State lost its Iraqi stronghold in Mosul in July. The militant group had seized Mosul, Iraq’s second-biggest city, in June 2014. On October 17, 2016, Iraqi forces backed by a United States-led coalition had launched a major offensive to retake Mosul. More than a million people have been killed, thousands of civilians have been displaced, and large parts of the city destroyed in the past nine months of fighting in Iraq.