The Syrian Democratic Armed Forces (SDF), an alliance of Kurdish and Arab militia, has expelled ISIS from most of the Syrian city of Raqqa. More than 80 percent of the city is now in the hands of the militia fighting Islamic State, according to the SDF and observers of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The SDF says the end of ISIS in the city is in sight. The battle is hampered by mines laid out in a ring around the center. Within the ring, ISIS keeps citizens hostage and uses them as a human shield.
In June, SDF opened the attack on Raqqa. The alliance gets support from an international coalition. Under the auspices of the United States, air attacks are carried out in Raqqa. The city was held by ISIS since 2014, declaring it “the capital of the caliphate”.
In the last months, the Western coalition has intensified the battle for ISIS-strongholds such as Mosul and Raqqa. An increasing number of air strikes have been conducted in both cities. As a result, more civilian deaths have occurred. According to the independent British Airwars Monitoring Group, around 4400 civilians were killed by strikes from jet fighters.
The loss of Mosul, Raqqa and Deir Azzor also impacts the revenue of the caliphate. Oil is the main source of income of the terrorist group. ISIS still occupies many oil wells in Syria and several large fields near Mosul in Iraq, which fund the war.
Watch a recent video report by Vice about the battle for Raqqa.