U.S.-backed militias in Syria declared victory over Islamic State in its capital Raqqa on Tuesday, raising flags over the last jihadist footholds after a four-month battle.
The fighting was over and the alliance of Kurdish and Arab militias was clearing the city’s stadium of mines and any remaining militants, said Rojda Felat, commander of the Raqqa campaign for the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
The fall of Raqqa, where Islamic State staged euphoric parades after its string of lightning victories in 2014, is a potent symbol of the jihadist movement’s collapsing fortunes.
The flags in the stadium and others waved in the city streets were of the SDF, its strongest militia the Kurdish YPG, and the YPG’s female counterpart, the YPJ.
Fighters hauled down the black flag of Islamic State, the last still flying over the city, from the National Hospital near the stadium.