The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) has declared the Syrian city of Raqqa free from the control of the terrorist group ISIS, marking the beginning of a new phase in the Syrian conflict.
The liberation of Raqqa is the result of the military campaign led by the global coalition and US-backed forces to remove ISIS’ ability to plot and carry out attacks from territories under its control.
US President Donald Trump was quoted by media sources as saying: “I am pleased to announce that the Syrian Democratic Forces, our partners in the fight against ISIS in Syria, have successfully recaptured Raqqa.
“Together, our forces have liberated the entire city from ISIS control.”
Trump also noted that the US, along with allies and partners, has agreed to support diplomatic negotiations that aim to end the violence, as well as allow refugees to return safely home and facilitate a political transition.
Welcoming the news, UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said: “With the fall of Raqqa, the head of the snake has been cut off and ISIS has lost its twin capitals in Iraq and now Syria, but the fight against ISIS’ reign of terror is not over.
“We will continue to hit the terrorists hard in both Syria and Iraq, while supporting efforts to rebuild.
“Only by defeating ISIS for good will we reduce the threat to us here at home.”
According to Fallon, the UK’s Royal Air Force and Coalition partners plan to continue targeting ISIS in both Syria and Iraq, and will support local forces on the ground to decisively defeat their common enemy.