Tags: raqqa | isis | capital | syria

Raqqa, ISIS Capital in Syria, Not Completely Taken, US Says

Image: Raqqa, ISIS Capital in Syria, Not Completely Taken, US Says
U.S. B-52 bombers are being used against ISIS in Syria. (Dreamstime)

Tuesday, 17 October 2017 11:00 AM

Islamic State militants continued to make a last stand in the Syrian city of Raqqa as a spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition said pockets of ISIS militants remain, The Associated Press reported.

The remarks came as U.S.-backed Syrian forces and their allies on the ground were going through the city's newly liberated areas, searching for land mines and sleeper cells.

Col. Ryan Dillon said on Tuesday that the Syrian Democratic Forces have seized the last strongholds of the militant group in Raqqa but are not done securing them.

He says the coalition has not carried out any airstrikes in the city for three days to allow for the evacuation of civilians and for militants to surrender.

Dillon says: "We have not received official reporting to say Raqqa is cleared."

He said that with the fall of Raqqa, the militants will be denied their "wellspring" that provided planning and support for terror operations in Syria and Iraq and around the world.

Syria's state news agency said government forces have captured several villages in the eastern province of Deir el-Zour from the Islamic State group.

SANA said government troops and their allies on Tuesday liberated the villages of Mouhassan, Bouomar and Bouleil that were once strongholds of the extremist group.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported earlier that government forces captured all areas between the eastern city of Deir el-Zour and the town of Mayadeen to the south.

The Observatory also reported that government forces now control more than 90 percent of the city of Deir el-Zour, where a major offensive is underway to capture remaining IS-held neighborhoods.

The loss of Raqqa and Deir el-Zour would hand yet another major blow to IS, which has lost most of the territory it once held in Syria and Iraq.

An international charity group said tens of thousands of people who fled Raqqa are in bad need of aid and that the "camps are bursting at the seams."

The charity says some 270,000 people who fled the Raqqa fighting are still in critical need of aid. With the high levels of destruction reported in and around Raqqa, most families have nowhere to return home and are likely to stay in camps for months or years to come.

Sonia Khush, Save the Children's director for Syria, described conditions in the camps where displaced from Raqqa are staying as "miserable and families do not have enough food, water or medicine."

Khush said the "children have suffered for years" and that they "must not be forgotten once the fighting subsides."

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Islamic State militants continued to make a last stand in the Syrian city of Raqqa as a spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition said pockets of ISIS militants remain, The Associated Press reported.
raqqa, isis, capital, syria
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2017-00-17
Tuesday, 17 October 2017 11:00 AM
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