Raqqa liberated from ISIS, commander with US-backed Syrian forces says

The particular Syrian city of Raqqa was separated from ISIS fighters Tuesday, the commander with U. S. -backed Syrian forces said.

The loss starving the terror group of the capital from the so-called caliphate, which has dwindled from the land mass spanning two nations to a sliver of space within Syria.

The last group of Islamic State militants had been holed up Tuesday in the stadium in the Syrian city of Raqqa, their last stand in the battle over what was the terror group’ s de facto capital because U. S. backed, Kurdish-led allows close in around them.

Coalition makes captured the city hospital earlier within the day, which doubled as an ISIS command center.

This frame grab from video clip released Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017 and provided by Furat FM, the Syrian Kurdish activist-run media team, shows Syrian Islamic State team fighters who surrendered entering basics of the U. S. -backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), in Raqqa, Syria.   (Furat FM, via AP)

Musafa Bali, a spokesman for the Syrian Democratic Forces, told the Linked Press around 22 ISIS militants were killed in the advance over the hospital. The fighting was nevertheless underway with militants who experienced refused to surrender, he mentioned.

The rest of the soldiers of terror were cornered in an area around the city’s city and county stadium, which they had turned into an enormous prison where they incarcerated anyone that opposed their brutal rule.

Fighters of Syrian Democratic Forces ride on vehicles as their convoy passes in Ain Issa, Syria October 16, 2017.   (REUTERS)

Bali denied a report by the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Legal rights that Raqqa city was right now completely empty of ISIS militants, informing the AP there were fighters nevertheless holed up inside.

“The stadium will be a major structure with underground rooms plus tunnels. There are also buildings around this, ” still under the control of the particular terror group. He added the fact that fighting is ongoing “and that can compare with decisive today. ”

Fighters of Syrian Democratic Forces take up position inside a constructing opposite the National Hospital in which the Islamic State militants are holed up at the frontline in Raqqa, Syria October 16, 2017   (REUTERS)

The particular Kurdish-run Hawar news agency mentioned with the capture of the hospital, the final black ISIS flag raised within the city had been taken down. A video launched by the news agency illustrated the particular clashes around the hospital building, which usually appeared riddled with bullets and partially blackened from a fire.

A senior Kurdish commander said clashes were continuing around the stadium Tuesday with “a small group” of militants.

A view associated with destroyed buildings at the frontline within Raqqa, Syria October 16, 2017.   (REUTERS)

“We hope it won’t take lengthy. Our aim is to clear the particular stadium also today, ” the particular commander said, speaking on situation of anonymity because he was not certified to speak to reporters.

He said there is no indication of civilians in the stadium or even around it but hat their troops are cautious because they anticipate ISIS has laid mines within the fortified stadium building. The arena served as an arms depot, securities headquarters and one of militants’ biggest jails in their self-styled caliphate.

Another industry commander told Reuters troops had found burned weapons plus documents in the stadium.

The U. H. -led coalition said it hadn’t carried out any airstrikes in or around Raqqa for 24 hours, starting from noon Sunday.

The fight for Raqqa began in 06 and has dragged for weeks since the SDF fighters faced stiff level of resistance from the militants.

Losing Raqqa has been a massive blow for ISIS, which has gradually lost territory in Iraq plus Syria, including Iraq’s second biggest city of Mosul few months ago.

The group announced the city on the banks of the Euphrates River, which it seized from all other Syrian rebels in early 2014, as the capital of its self-styled “caliphate, inch transforming the one vibrant metropolis in to the epicenter of its brutal rule exactly where opponents were beheaded and fear plots were planned.

The Connected Press contributed to this report.