Victory for US-backed SDF in the city of Raqqa, next is Deir al Zor

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Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters ride atop of military vehicles as they celebrate victory in Raqqa, Syria, October 17, 2017. REUTERS/Erik De Castro

World :  The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said that its military operations have ended against the Islamic State in its Syrian stronghold of Raqqa, a city that was seized by the extremists group in 2014 and which became the center of caliphate and has been used as a base to plan overseas terror attacks. According to SkyNews, clearing operations were continuing to flush out the remaining fighters and locate landmines and booby traps. Thereafter, a formal declaration that the city is fully liberated will follow. The US military estimated that about 100 fighters are still left in the city after the SDF,  earlier on Tuesday, said they had killed 22 fighters as they captured the city hospital, being used by IS as its headquarter.

Raqqa was the first Syrian city to be captured by IS, also known as Daesh, after it battled a coalition of rebel groups. IS is accused of carrying out horrific abuses in this city, including beheadings, hangings and the torture of prisoners as well as public floggings.

SkyNews said that the end of the Raqqa battle comes after IS was driven out of its main Iraqi base of Mosul in July. It still has fighters in other areas, such as the eastern city of Deir al Zor, and many fighters from Raqqa will have fled there. However, Syria’s state news agency SANA, as well as the SOHR group, said government troops had captured several villages in the area, as well as most of the city.