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Battle for Raqqa: U.S.-Backed Forces Reclaim Syrian City From ISIS

After a four-month battle, Syrian forces have declared victory over ISIS in the group's former stronghold.

A member of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance of U.S. backed militias, holds up their flag in Raqqa on Oct. 17.

The SDF said Tuesday they had taken full control of Raqqa from ISIS, defeating the last jihadist holdouts in the de facto Syrian capital of their now-shattered "caliphate."

Bulent Kilic / AFP - Getty Images

Kurdish fighters run across a street on July 3. 

The SDF, a multi-ethnic alliance that includes Kurdish and Arab militias, has been fighting since June to take the city. 

Raqqa was the first big city ISIS captured in early 2014, before its rapid series of victories in Iraq and Syria brought millions of people under the rule of its self-declared caliphate, which passed laws and issued passports and money.

Goran Tomasevic / Reuters

A Syrian fighter takes his position inside a destroyed apartment on the front line in Raqqa on July 27. 

ISIS has lost much of its territory in Syria and Iraq this year, including its most prized possession, Mosul. In Syria, it has been forced back into a strip of the Euphrates valley and surrounding desert.

Hussein Malla / AP

Children flash victory signs as a military convoy carrying U.S.-made vehicles and arms headed for Raqqa passes through the northeastern city of Qamishli on Sept. 19. 

Delil Souleiman / AFP - Getty Images

Female members of the SDF stand on a street in Raqqa on Sept. 22. 

Delil Souleiman / AFP - Getty Images

Syrian forces carry their wounded comrade Ibrahim towards an armored vehicle after he was shot by a sniper in Raqqa on Sept. 24. 

Bulent Kilic / AFP - Getty Images

An SDF fighter comforts his comrade Ibrahim as they drive towards a medical center on Sept. 24. 

Bulent Kilic / AFP - Getty Images

Members of the Kurdish Red Crescent examine a girl displaced by fighting in Raqqa on Sept. 26. 

Bulent Kilic / AFP - Getty Images

Syrian forces battle to retake the National Hospital in Raqqa from ISIS on Sept. 28.

Bulent Kilic / AFP - Getty Images

A Syrian fighter checks a building near the ISIS-held hospital on Oct. 1. 

Bulent Kilic / AFP - Getty Images

A Syrian fighter takes cover from sniper shots near the ISIS-held hospital on Oct. 1. 

Bulent Kilic / AFP - Getty Images

Young Syrian fighters joke with each other in Raqqa on Oct. 1. 

Erik De Castro / Reuters

A wounded Syrian fighter smokes a cigarette on Oct. 1. 

Erik De Castro / Reuters

A Syrian fighter takes a position in a house in Raqqa on Oct. 1. 

Erik De Castro / Reuters

Smoke rises after a coalition air strike against ISIS positions near the stadium in Raqqa on Oct. 4. 

Erik De Castro / Reuters

Syrian fighters hold an ISIS flag discovered in a building next to the stadium on Oct. 4. 

Erik De Castro / Reuters

A Syrian fighter listens to the radio inside a vehicle on Raqqa's eastern front line on Oct. 5. 

Bulent Kilic / AFP - Getty Images

A Syrian fighter fixes his hair using a broken mirror on Oct. 6.

Erik De Castro / Reuters
The National Hospital, the last stronghold of ISIS militants in Raqqa, is seen through a hole at an SDF position on Oct. 6. Erik De Castro / Reuters
Syrian fighters maintain their position on Raqqa's western front line on Oct. 8. Bulent Kilic / AFP - Getty Images

Civilians gather after fleeing the city center on Oct. 12.

Bulent Kilic / AFP - Getty Images

A bandaged woman looks back as civilians gather after fleeing the city center on Oct. 12.

Bulent Kilic / AFP - Getty Images
A Sryian fighter looks out from a building on the Raqqa front line on Oct. 16. Bulent Kilic / AFP - Getty Images
Syrian fighters evacuate a civilian from the stadium after declaring victory over ISIS in Raqqa on Oct. 17. Erik De Castro / Reuters

Syrian fighters celebrate after declaring victory over ISIS in Raqqa on Oct. 17.

Related: Raqqa Recaptured From ISIS by U.S.-Backed Militias

Erik De Castro / Reuters