The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) — a militia group made up of Kurds and Arabs with American backing — took back the northern Syrian city of Raqqa from the Islamic State (ISIS).
ISIS considered Raqqa the capital of its self-declared caliphate. U.S. Central Command announced “more than 90 percent of Raqqa is in SDF control.” ISIS still controls areas south of Raqqa, including the oil-rich province of Deir el-Zour.
Syrian commander Major General Issam Zahreddine, who helped liberate Deir el-Zour, was reportedly killed in action this week. The International Rescue Committee reported on Tuesday that almost 500,000 civilians are under ISIS rule in Deir el-Zour, and hundreds of thousands more are fleeing into roads saturated with landmines.
We’ll get an update on Syria from Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, who edits the blog Syria Comment.