US-backed militias have completely taken Isis‘ de facto capital, Raqqa, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said on Tuesday, in a major symbolic blow to the jihadist group. The fall of Raqqa, where Isis staged euphoric parades after its string of lightning victories in 2014, is a potent symbol of the movement’s collapsing fortunes. The city was used as a base for the group to plan attacks abroad.

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance of Kurdish and Arab militias backed by a US-led international alliance, has been fighting Isis inside Raqqa since June. SOHR said 3,250 people were killed in the five-month battle, including 1,130 civilians. A witness said fighting appeared to be almost at an end with only sporadic bursts of gunfire. Militia fighters celebrated in the streets, chanted slogans from their vehicles and raised a flag inside Raqqa stadium. READ MORE