Damascus: A US-backed militia on Tuesday announced that it has taken full control of Raqqa, the northern Syrian city that once served as the capital of the Islamic State caliphate.
Fighters from the Syrian Democratic Forces, an ethnically-mixed militia led by Kurds that had launched an offensive on the city in the past few weeks, were now combing the area for any remaining combatants, although they announced via the messaging app Telegram that Raqqa was now completely free of IS fighters, Efe reports.
Nuri Mahmoud, spokesman for the People's Protection Units (YPG) -- the SDF's Kurdish section -- said that his forces were making sure Raqqa had been cleared of IS fighters, particularly in the vicinity of the national hospital.
Mahmoud said he could assert that 99 percent of Raqqa was clear of IS fighters, adding that the SDF had to complete the operation of deactivating mines and getting rid of the remnants of the organisation at the hospital.
Earlier, SDF spokesman Talal Sello confirmed to Efe that the militia had complete control of Raqqa but could not confirm the end of IS presence there.
He added that the SDF would soon publish a statement officially proclaiming the complete liberation of the former IS stronghold.
On June 6, the SDF, backed by the US-led international coalition, began the assault on the city, which had been taken by the IS in January 2014, when it proclaimed its caliphate and declared Raqqa its capital.