Image: Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters ride atop of military vehicles as they celebrate victory in Raqqa

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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.

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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
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Image: Kurdish fighters from the People's Protection Units (YPG) run across a street in Raqqa

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Image: Teen fighters of Syrian Democratic Forces joke each other in Raqqa

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

Erik De Castro / Reuters
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Image: A member of Syrian Democratic Forces who was wounded during a battle with Islamic State militants smokes a cigarette in Raqqa

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

Erik De Castro / Reuters
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Image: A fighter of Syrian Democratic Forces takes up a position inside a house in Raqqa

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

Erik De Castro / Reuters
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Image: Smoke rises at the positions of the Islamic State militants after an air strike by the coalition forces near the stadium in Raqqa

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

Erik De Castro / Reuters
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Image: Members of Syrian Democratic Forces hold a flag of the Islamic State militants recovered at a building next to the stadium in Raqqa

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

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

Bulent Kilic / AFP - Getty Images
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Image: A fighter of Syrian Democratic Forces fixes his hair using a broken mirror at the frontline in Raqqa

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

Erik De Castro / Reuters
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Image: The National Hospital, last stronghold of the Islamic State militants, is pictured from a hole at the positions of the Syrian Democratic Forces at the frontline in Raqqa

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
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Syrian fighters maintain their position on Raqqa's western front line on Oct. 8.
Bulent Kilic / AFP - Getty Images
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Civilians gather after fleeing the city center on Oct. 12.

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

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A Sryian fighter looks out from a building on the Raqqa front line on Oct. 16.
Bulent Kilic / AFP - Getty Images
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Image: Fighters of Syrian Democratic Forces evacuate a civilian from the stadium after Raqqa was liberated from the Islamic State militants in Raqqa

Syrian fighters evacuate a civilian from the stadium after declaring victory over ISIS in Raqqa on Oct. 17.
Erik De Castro / Reuters
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Image: Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters ride atop of military vehicles as they celebrate victory in Raqqa

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
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