Raqqa: IS 'capital' falls to US-backed Syrian forces
A US-backed alliance of Syrian Kurdish and Arab fighters says it has taken full control of so-called Islamic State's one-time "capital" of Raqqa, the BBC reported.
Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) spokesman Talal Sello said the fighting was over after a five-month assault.
Clearing operations were now under way to uncover any jihadist sleeper cells and remove landmines, he added.
An official statement declaring victory in the city and the end of three years of IS rule is expected to be made soon.
Earlier on Tuesday, the SDF cleared the last two major IS positions in Raqqa - the municipal stadium and the National Hospital.
Reuters news agency reported that fighters raised the flag of Popular Protection Units, a Kurdish militia that dominates the SDF, inside the stadium and celebrated in the streets and chanted slogans from their vehicles.
Dozens of foreign militants were believed to have made their last stand in the stadium, while 22 were reportedly killed in the final attack on the hospital.
Up to 300 militants were thought to be holding out on Sunday, after Syrian jihadists and their families were evacuated under a deal negotiated by tribal elders.
"Everything is finished in Raqqa, our forces have taken full control of Raqqa," Mr Sello told AFP news agency on Tuesday afternoon.
"The military operations in Raqqa have finished, but there are clearing operations now under way to uncover any sleeper cells there might be and remove mines."
IS seized Raqqa in early 2014, months after it became the first Syrian provincial capital to fall to the rebels in the civil war, and made it the headquarters of its self-styled "caliphate".
Raqqa was transformed by the group, which implemented an extreme interpretation of Islamic law and used beheadings, crucifixions and torture to terrorise residents who opposed its rule.
At the same time, Raqqa became home to thousands of jihadists from around the world who heeded a call to migrate there by IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
About 15,000 SDF fighters, supported by US-led coalition air strikes and special forces on the ground, began an operation to capture Raqqa last November.
They encircled the city before breaching IS defences on the outskirts in June.
Related news releases
- 22.02.2018Lavrov: Russia will consider ceasefire in Syria
- 22.02.2018N Korea calls US-Japan missile drills provocation against Intra-Korean Dialogue
- 22.02.2018Over 400 undocumented migrants held across Turkey
- 22.02.2018Ziyad Sabsabi: "There are about 15 children who lost their parents in Iraq"
- 22.02.2018North Korea canceled planned meeting with Pence
- 21.02.2018North Korea cancelled talks with US Vice President
- 21.02.2018Talks between Erbil, Baghdad reach final stages: PM
- 20.02.2018Russian Center for Syrian Reconciliation comes under massive fire
- 20.02.2018Palestine ready to exchange minor territories with Israel - Abbas
- 20.02.2018Turkish President: Syrian forces tried to enter Afrin, retreated after Turkey's shelling
- 20.02.2018YPG/PKK-Daesh terror groups shell Turkey's south Hatay
- 20.02.2018Maldives leader seeks approval to extend state of emergency
- 19.02.2018Three Iranian police killed in clashes with Sufi protesters
- 19.02.2018Islamic State kills 27 Iraqi militiamen near Kirkuk
- 19.02.2018Israel, Egypt sign $15bn natural gas purchase agreement
- 19.02.2018Kurdish region flight ban to be lifted soon: Iraqi PM
- 18.02.2018Daesh doesn’t represent Islam: Iraqi PM
- 18.02.20182 Turkish soldiers martyred, one injured in operations
- 17.02.2018Turkish, Iraqi PMs stress cooperation against terrorism
- 17.02.20184 Israeli troops injured by explosive device near Gaza
- 17.02.2018Turkish PM: 'We have given terrorist organizations the Ottoman slap'
- 16.02.2018PYD/PKK terrorist admits to posing as civilian
- 16.02.20187 Turkish soldiers injured in Operation Olive Branch
- 15.02.2018Indonesia charges Daesh-linked group for deadly bombing
- 15.02.2018Lebanese PM rule out Hezbollah alliance in May election
- 15.02.2018US secretary of state meets with Jordan king in Amman
- 14.02.2018Knesset rejects bill recognizing so-called Armenian Genocide
- 14.02.2018No cases of human infection with H5N6 bird flu reported in Iran – official
- 14.02.2018Over 20 undocumented migrants held in Turkey
- 14.02.2018Turkey's president speaks to Saudi counterpart
- 14.02.2018Taliban confirms senior leader killed by US air strike
- 14.02.2018İraqi Turkmen Front officer attacked in Kirkuk
- 13.02.2018Cyclone wreaks havoc in Tonga's capital, parliament flattened, homes wrecked
- 13.02.2018Russians killed in clash with U.S.-led forces in Syria, say associates
- 12.02.2018Israel's Netanyahu says discussing settlement annexation with U.S.
- 11.02.2018Netanyahu speaks to Russia’s Putin about Iran
- 11.02.2018Putin Urges Netanyahu to Avoid Escalation in Syria
- 10.02.201811 Turkish soldiers killed, 11 injured in Afrin - UPDATED
- 10.02.2018Hundreds protesting in Seoul against N. Korea's participation in Olympic
- 10.02.201815 PYD/PKK, Daesh terrorists neutralized in Afrin
- 17.10.20172 UAE pilots killed in Yemen crash
- 18.10.2017North Korean official: We won’t negotiate until we can strike US east coast
- 18.10.2017Communist Party of China opens the 19th National Congress
- 17.10.2017At least 50 killed in Taliban attacks on Afghan police - UPDATED
- 17.10.2017Massive Us-South Korean naval war games begin near Korean peninsula
- 17.10.2017Four nations meet to resume stalled Afghan peace talks in Oman