The following is an excerpt from Jared Malsin / Raqqa, Syria | October 18, 2017 | Time.com |
One day after U.S.-backed Syrian militias defeated the Islamic State in the country’s capital, the town is an urban husk of hollow buildings and bodies lying in rubble-strewn streets.
The militias known as the Syrian Democratic Forces declared victory in Raqqa on Tuesday, signaling the unraveling of the Islamic State’s self-proclaimed Caliphate and the ongoing collapse of its territory. More than three years after the ISIS seized a vast swath of Iraq and Syria and launched a global campaign of terror, the group is now on the brink of defeat as a conventional fighting force.
In the wake of the battle, the city is all but totally abandoned. Raqqa was once one of the largest cities in eastern Syria with more than 200,000 residents, but now no civilians are to be found. SDF fighters roam the deserted streets in pickup trucks, blaring celebratory music, cheering and flashing the victory sign. Teams of fighters circulate the neighborhoods clearing mines from houses, occasionally blasting a door open with a bang and a hail of debris.
For more visit: Time.com