What’s next for Raqqa as US-backed Syrian forces take control of the city?

Oct 17, 2017


Rojda Felat, a Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) commander, walks with her group’s flag at the iconic Al-Naim square in Raqa on October 17, 2017.; Credit: BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images


A U.S.-backed alliance of Syrian fighters said Tuesday they had seized control of the northern Syrian city of Raqqa.

The city has been considered the headquarters of the Islamic State’s “caliphate” since 2014. Raqqa first fell from Syrian government control a year earlier. Raqqa was the site of many ISIS beheading videos, including that of the American journalist James Foley by “Jihadi John.” The city is mostly destroyed, and many lives were lost in the four-month battle over its control.

So the big question is: what’s next? Will dislodging ISIS from the territory create the same problems that led to its rise in the first place? Larry speaks to a reporter on the ground in Istanbul and an analyst for more details.


Emily Wither, correspondent for Reuters TV based in Istanbul; she tweets @ewither

Frederic C. Hof, director at the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East; his focus includes Syrian conflict and U.S. policy in the Middle East

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