With Trump as president, ISIS has been steadily beaten back, losing large swaths of territory in the process.
According to CBS News, the US has achieved yet another victory against ISIS. On Tuesday, ISIS lost the city of Raqqa to US-backed Syrian forces.
Raqqa has been the de-facto capital of ISIS for over three years as they spread their message of hate and war. Now the entire city has fallen before the might of the Syrian Democratic Forces, who has been working with the US to root out ISIS.
On Tuesday, ISIS lost one of their main holdings in Raqqa–a hospital–and was forced into a sports stadium to make a final stand. It was there that SDF forces finally won the fight for control of Raqqa.
According to CBS News reporter Holly Williams–who’s on the ground with the prevailing forces–the battle is won, but the work of securing Raqqa still has a long way to go. Remnant ISIS fighters are still believed to be hiding in tunnels and the occasional building throughout the city. It’s also expected to take several months for personnel to disarm and eradicate explosives placed by militants as traps for SDF forces.
Once this is over and Raqqa is believed safe, Syrians who come back to the city will begin the long process of rebuilding a city ravaged by war.
NBC News reported that the fight for Raqqa wasn’t without sacrifices. Estimates by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claims that nearly 80 percent of the city is destroyed. The Save the Children organization states that around 270,000 people fled Raqqa to nearby areas, filling refugee camps beyond capacity in their effort to find peace and safety.
NPR also reported on the terrible atrocities that occurred in Raqqa while it was under ISIS’ control. According to reporter Ruth Sherlock, “Raqqa is where ISIS first imposed the strict laws that it hoped would one day govern a caliphate that took land across Iraq and Syria. After they took the city in 2014, women were not allowed out in public alone. Young men – even children – were trained to fight. Non-Muslims were persecuted. Those who broke laws were executed publicly…”
Now the fight to eliminate ISIS is taking place south of Raqqa, according to NPR’s Tom Bowman. “Even after Raqqa falls, US officials say they have to clear an area south of Raqqa along the Iraq border. It’s some 150 miles,” Bowman reported. “And the trouble is, you have Syrian regime forces there, as well. So the question is, how does the US deal with the Syrians. You know, the answer they’re saying is to work with the Russians to what they call deconflict military operations with the Russian ally Syria.”
US forces have captured Raqqa from ISIS. Do you think Obama could have lead our military to victories?
Yemen is another area where US-led forces are rooting out ISIS. Recently, two of their training camps were attacked by the US. The destruction of these camps limits ISIS’ ability to train new fighters.
Centcom describes the training done there thusly: “ISIS used the camps to train militants to conduct terror attacks using Ak-47s, machine guns, rocket-propelled grenade launchers and endurance training.”
Though the fight against ISIS is far from over, taking their capital city of Raqqa and destroying two training camps has dealt a sharp blow to their efforts and undoubtedly damaged morale. Hopefully, US-backed forces and the coalition led by the US will together root out ISIS remnants and eradicate a source of evil and terror that has plagued the world since its creation.