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Raqqa

Raqqa fall ‘critical breakthrough,’ end of Islamic State in sight: Trump

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump on Saturday hailed the defeat of Islamic State fighters in their self-proclaimed capital of Raqqa as “a critical breakthrough” in a worldwide campaign against the militants. On Friday, the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) formally announced Raqqa’s liberation from Islamic State after four months of battles and said the city would be part of a decentralized federal Syria. "Together, our forces have liberated the entire city from ISIS control," Trump said in a…

US-backed forces say have captured Raqqa from IS

BAGHDAD: US-backed forces said Tuesday they had taken full control of Raqqa from the Islamic State group, defeating the last holdouts in the de facto Syrian capital of their now-shattered "caliphate". The Kurdish-Arab Syrian Democratic Forces, who have been fighting inside the northern city since they broke in on June 6, flushed the few hundred IS fighters left in the city from their last positions in the main hospital and the national stadium. "Everything is finished in Raqqa, our forces have taken full control of…

US-backed forces say operation to retake Raqqa from Islamic State has begun

RAQQA: US-backed rebels said on Sunday they were launching an operation to retake the Syrian city of Raqqa, the de facto capital of Islamic State. The attack ratchets up pressure on the militant group at a critical moment, with its fighters already battling an offensive by Iraqi security forces on their remaining Iraqi stronghold in the northern city of Mosul. The US-backed Syria Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance of Kurdish and Arab armed groups, first announced on Sunday that a campaign to retake Raqqa would begin…

Pentagon chief urges ‘isolation operation’ for IS-held Raqqa

ARBIL, IRAQ:  US defence chief Ashton Carter said on Sunday that an operation to isolate the Islamic State group in Syria's Raqqa should begin in conjunction with the assault on their Iraqi bastion Mosul. "We want to see an isolation operation begin around Raqqa as soon as possible," Carter said during a visit to Iraq's autonomous region of Kurdistan to review an ongoing offensive to retake Mosul from IS. "We are working with our partners there (in Syria) to do that," the US secretary of defence said, adding: "There will…

After Mosul, anti-IS forces should target Raqqa, says US

PARIS: The international coalition targeting Islamic State extremists should move on to take the group's headquarters in Raqqa in Syria once the battle in Mosul in Iraq has been won, a top US official said on Friday. Tens of thousands of troops and militiamen, backed by coalition air power and special forces, launched an assault on Mosul on Monday aimed at wresting back the last city in Iraq under the militant's control. French President Francois Hollande warned Thursday that IS fighters were leaving the city for Syria to…