Los Angeles Times

Islamic State has lost its capital in Syria: What happens now?

BEIRUT - After four months of grueling street fighting, a U.S.-backed Syrian force said Tuesday that it had wrested control of Raqqa from Islamic State, dealing a powerful symbolic blow to the militants who made the city the de facto capital of their self-styled caliphate.

Celebratory gunfire erupted in the shattered metropolis along the Euphrates River, where years of airstrikes left virtually no building unscathed. Video and photographs shared on social media showed members of the Syrian Democratic Forces, or SDF, raising their yellow flag and spinning doughnuts in armored vehicles at an infamous traffic circle where the militants would force residents to watch gruesome beheadings and crucifixions.

More than any other city, Raqqa came to embody the towering ambitions

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