ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – A spokesperson for the US-led coalition on Monday congratulated the Kurdish-led forces battling the Islamic State (IS) on their “milestone” victory after recapturing the Great Mosque of Raqqa.
The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), spearheaded by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), liberated the historic mosque on Saturday.
Colonel Ryan Dillon, a spokesperson for Operation Inherent Resolve, applauded the Kurdish-led forces on their progress against IS in the Old City of Raqqa.
“The liberation of this historic landmark is testimony to the dedication and courage of the SDF as they fight to defeat [IS] in Raqqa,” Dillon said in an official press release.
“The SDF have made consistent incremental gains in the urban terrain of the city, fighting block by block, and applying increasing pressure on [IS] each day,” he added.
The Kurdish-led forces’ evacuation of “thousands of civilians” and “great lengths to limit damage to infrastructure, including the ancient mosque,” were also highlighted in the press release.
The Great Mosque is the oldest mosque in the city and has been under the extremist’s control since the group’s emergence in 2014.
After liberating surrounding areas of Raqqa, the US-backed SDF launched their assault against IS in June.
Since then, the extremist group has suffered heavy defeats as they try to defend their remaining pockets of territory in the city.
The coalition has provided equipment, training, and air support as the Kurdish-led forces advance on the ground.
“The coalition continues to work by, with, and through the SDF as they fight to defeat [IS] in Raqqa and throughout Syria,” the press release concluded.
The Kurdish-led forces have recaptured over 60 percent of territory from the militant group in Raqqa, their self-proclaimed capital and last major stronghold in Syria.
Editing by Ava Homa