After a four-month battle, US-backed forces in Syria declared a victory over the Islamic State as it lost control of its self-declared capital.
U.S.-backed militias raised flags of victory in Raqqa Tuesday as the last jihadist foothold fell and “major military operations” were announced as over.
— Quentin Sommerville (@sommervilletv) October 17, 2017
“Major military operations in Raqqa are finished but they are now clearing the city of sleeper cells — if they exist — and mines,” Talal Salo, spokesman for the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, told CNN. “The situation in Raqqa is under control and soon there will be an official statement declaring the liberation of the city.”
— Jim Hanson (@Uncle_Jimbo) October 18, 2017
U.S.-backed Syrian forces raise flags in the center of the city of Raqqa after liberating the city from ISISpic.twitter.com/ZpAQ40PcAb
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) October 18, 2017
With the defeat of ISIS in Mosul, Iraq in the summer, the liberation of Raqqa marks another significant battlefield victory under President Trump’s watch.
“I totally changed rules of engagement. I totally changed our military, I totally changed the attitudes of the military and they have done a fantastic job,” Trump said on “The Chris Plante Show” on Tuesday. “ISIS is now giving up, they are giving up, there are raising their hands, they are walking off. Nobody has ever seen that before.”
“Why hadn’t that happened before?” Plante asked.
“Because you didn’t have Trump as your president,” the president replied. “It was a big difference, there was a big, big difference if you look at the military now.”
— Asaad Hanna (@AsaadHannaa) October 18, 2017
Syrian Democratic Forces, a mix of 55,000 Arab and Kurdish fighters, pushed through Raqqa with artillery and airstrikes provided by the US and its coalition allies, CNN reported. ISIS fighters were cleared from the National Raqqa Hospital and Paradise Square, the location of many pubic beheadings and crucifixions carried out by ISIS.
The fall of Raqqa signals an incredible victory over ISIS for the U.S., our allies, and the greater region.
— Rep. Jeff Duncan (@RepJeffDuncan) October 17, 2017
— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) October 17, 2017
Coalition spokesman Col. Ryan Dillon told CNN that there might “still be pockets of ISIS fighters in the coming days,” but it didn’t keep soldiers and residents of the ravaged city from celebrating.
— Mutlu Civiroglu (@mutludc) October 17, 2017
— OIR Spokesman (@OIRSpox) October 17, 2017
— Jenan Moussa (@jenanmoussa) October 17, 2017
SDF jaish al-thuwar forces celebrating the victory of Great Raqqa battle. pic.twitter.com/raTsb488Fr
— Sozdar al-Kurdistani (@KURDMeansStrong) October 18, 2017
IDPs of the Ain Issa camp who fled Raqqa have received the news of the liberation of their city with great enthusiasm and joy
— CLAUDIA (@ClaudiaAlMina) October 18, 2017
“I think every American should be encouraged that working with Iraqi forces, working with the Peshmerga in the Kurdish region, that ISIS is on the run,” Vice President Mike Pence said on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show Tuesday.
“We are very close to achieving the objective that President Trump set out in the campaign last year, which was to crush ISIS and completely eliminate their capacity to threaten people of this country, to threaten our allies in the region. And we couldn’t be more proud of the American soldier in the field and all of our allies,” he added.
— Matthew VanDyke (@Matt_VanDyke) October 17, 2017
The president emphasized that key victories have been won against the terror group since he took office. A far cry from his apologetic predecessor who effectively tied the hands and feet of the US military in its operations against ISIS and other terror groups.
“I changed rules of engagement about a month ago and we are fighting now to win as opposed to fighting to stay there,” Trump said. “We were losing, now we are winning.”
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