Celebrations have begun in Raqqa, Syria after the Islamic State’s (IS) stronghold on the region has been withdrawn. Kurdish forces and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), supported by U.S. militia, are responsible for the recapturing, and have rightfully raised their flags across the province. The groups have been combatting IS in Raqqa since June, which the terror organization described as their “caliphate” and used to plan attacks abroad. Only 10-25,000 residents remain in the area, as others have fled to neighbouring countries or other regions in Syria. This event comes as an omnipotent symbol of the dismantling of terror movements worldwide.
Many factions of the SDF were involved in the recapturing, including the Kurdish YPG, and its female counterpart, the YPJ. During the battle, however, Al Jazeera reports that over 1,000 individuals were killed, whilst 17% of homes in the area were ruined. Given the damage caused by the incidents, the city has stated it will require $10 million annually to develop basic infrastructure.
While the United States Central Command has not yet declared victory on the operation, as “90% of Raqqa is in SDF control,” SDF officers have insisted that they had indeed regained total control.
Undoubtedly, the recapturing of Raqqa represents a significant victory. The Islamic State has perpetrated countless acts of violence and hatred worldwide, and the dismantling of their reign is a huge step towards world peace. It is evident, however, that violent measures were used through the devastation caused in the conflict. Al Jazeera conspires that white phosphorous munitions were one of many tools used by the Kurdish forces to attack IS. Naturally, there is no way to specify attacks on the militants resulting in unnecessary civilian loss. While force and weaponry were used in this conflict, the reduction in armed forces and militia present would send a message of peace pertaining to reconciliation.
The Islamic State has been notorious in its attack on the Middle East and the West. The group existed as a Salafist sub-group within Al Qaeda until 2014, when Al Qaeda severed all ties. Since their separation, IS places greater focus on regional practices, using Syria and Iraq as a base to initially purify Islamic practices at home, then focus on global jihadism. In Raqqa, residents reported beheadings for trivial “crimes”, such as smoking, under the tyrannical reign of IS.
Following the elimination of IS in Raqqa, the group has now lost their two most highly valued cities in its “caliphate” within the short span of three months. The diminishing of territory it once controlled corresponds to a dismantling of their power, and gradually a cease to all IS coordinated attacks.
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