Syrian Democratic Forces announced Tuesday they’d taken back the former ISIS capital following the capture of a stadium and hospital, the terror group’s last bases in the city.
It’s a major milestone in the four-month assault on Raqqa, led by the U.S.-backed SDF, an alliance of Syrian Kurdish and Arab militias. The assault on Raqqa’s old city has resulted in 3,250 people killed, including 1,130 civilians, according to the UK-based monitoring group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Raqqa is expected to be formally declared “liberated” once SDF sweeps the city for landmines and jihadi sleeper cells.
With the loss of their de facto Syrian capital, ISIS’ presence in the country has been reduced to the province of Deir Ezzor, where the group is coming under pressure from Bashar al-Assad’s government forces, supported by Russian airpower and Iranian-backed militias.