Raqqa Captured by U.S.-backed Forces

FIRST CAME Mosul, now Raqqa.

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Islamic state leader, has lost valued territory and now controls only a teeny tiny space in a land he’d planned to rule.

What has been left behind is a city in complete ruin.

From the New York Times

BEIRUT, Lebanon — American-backed forces said on Tuesday that they had seized the northern Syrian city of Raqqa from the Islamic State, a major blow to the militant group, which had long used the city as the de facto capital of its self-declared caliphate.

Celebrations erupted in Raqqa, where residents had lived under the repressive rule of militants who beheaded people for offenses as minor as smoking. Fighters could be seen cheering and firing celebratory gunfire in the streets, according to residents reached by phone and text message.

The United States Central Command stopped short of declaring victory, saying that “more than 90 percent of Raqqa is in S.D.F. control,” a reference to the Syrian Democratic Forces, an American-backed militia group made up of Syrian Kurds and Arabs.