Battle for ISIS Capital Raqqa in Final Stages, U.S.-backed Forces Say

Syrian Democratic Forces say 80 percent of the city has been seized

A fighter from Syrian Democratic Forces holds a walkie-talkie in Raqqa, Syria, September 16, 2017.
RODI SAID/REUTERS

The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces said on Wednesday that its campaign to capture Raqqa from Islamic State was in its final stages and its fighters had seized 80 percent of the city.

In a statement, the SDF said it had opened a new front against ISIS on the northern edge of Raqqa, describing this as "a feature of the final stages of the Euphrates Wrath campaign, which is nearing its end."

The SDF, an alliance of Kurdish and Arab militias, launched their offensive on Islamic State in Raqqa city in June, backed by U.S.-led airstrikes and special forces on the ground. The city had served as Islamic State's de facto capital in Syria.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Wednesday that the SDF had taken more than 90 percent of the city, adding that the major remaining hurdle for the forces was a large concentration of mines in the area.