ISIS defeated in Syria's Raqqa, US-backed militias raise flag inside stadium

Cheryl Sanders
October 17, 2017

A public square where Islamic State militants carried out beheadings has been captured by US-led Syrian Democratic Forces as the last remaining IS fighters flee Raqqa.

"The Syrian Democratic Forces supported by the worldwide coalition managed to capture the municipal stadium after storming and clearing most of the area", it said, adding that "most of the jihadists surrendered".

The Raqqa victory comes days after the final assault on the city was announced after an evacuation of civilians and ISIL terrorists, who agreed to leave the Syrian city, had been carried out.

The SDF, an alliance of Kurdish and Arab militias, took the National Hospital in fierce fighting overnight and early on Tuesday, said spokesman Mostafa Bali in a statement.

Al-Naim Circle was taken back by the SDF forces on Monday night, and Williams watched them on the streets of Raqqa celebrating; they were in a victorious mood after a brutal four-month battle for the city.

The city of Raqqa fell to the Islamic State group in 2014 and became the de facto capital of their self-styled caliphate.

The flag of the Kurdish YPG, the strongest of the militias in the SDF, was planted in the middle of the stadium, where fighting had ended, but which had not been fully cleared of land mines, militia fighters told the witness. From the city, the group planned attacks overseas.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights that regime forces had brought the entire area stretching between Deir Ezzor and Mayadeen, which was retaken on Saturday, under their control following a major military offensive.

"These are not desert areas, they are villages along the Euphrates (river) that were ISIS strongholds", the Britain-based monitoring group said.

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