Raqa - updates

Rappler's latest stories on Raqa


Amnesty International condemns US-led coalition over Raqa civilian killings

Oct 15, 2018 - 9:11 AM

'The US-led coalition's ongoing failure to admit to, let alone adequately investigate, the shocking scale of civilian deaths and destruction it caused in Raqa is a slap in the face for survivors,' Amnesty International says in a statement

RAQA. A member of the first response team tours the courtyard of the National Hospital building in the northern Syria city of Raqa, which was the final bastion of IS fighters, on October 13, 2018. Photo by Delil Souleiman/AFP

Syria forces declare 'curfew' in Raqa, fearing ISIS attacks

Jun 24, 2018 - 4:42 PM

Raqa International Security Forces says it had received information that terrorist groups working on behalf of ISIS have 'entered Raqa to carry out attacks against stability and security'

CURFEW. The Syrian Democratic forces (SDF) recently drove the Islamic State (ISIS) group out of large parts of northern and eastern Syria, including the onetime jihadist capital of Raqa, with help from the coalition's air strikes, weapons and special forces advisors. File photo by Delil souleiman / AFP

To fast or not? Free of IS, Syrians in Raqa mark relaxed Ramadan

May 20, 2018 - 12:19 PM

For more than three years, residents of Raqa were subjected to IS' ultra-strict interpretation of Islamic law – particularly stringent during the holy month of Ramadan.

RAMADAN. People buy fruits and vegetables at a market in the Syrian city of Raqa on May 17, 2018, during the holy month of Ramadan. The Syrian Democratic forces (SDF) recently drove the Islamic State (IS) group out of large parts of northern and eastern Syria, including the onetime jihadist capital of Raqa, with help from the coalition's air strikes, weapons and special forces advisors. Photo by Delil souleiman/AFP

Two mass graves found in Raqa – Syrian state media

Dec 30, 2017 - 10:13 AM

It is not immediately clear when the bodies found had been killed, other than while ISIS controlled the northerly province

RAQA. A member of the Syrian Democratic Forces talks on the radio near Raqa's stadium as they clear the last positions on the frontline on October 16, 2017 in the Islamic State (IS) group jihadists crumbling stronghold. Photo by Bulent Kilic/AFP

2017: The year the 'caliphate' collapsed

Dec 18, 2017 - 10:30 PM

The jihadist group lost its two main hubs, Mosul in Iraq and Raqa in Syria, earlier this year and is now only clinging to the dregs of a 'caliphate'

VICTORY IN MOSUL. This file photo taken on July 10, 2017 shows members of the Iraqi federal police celebrating in the Old City of Mosul after the government's announcement of the "liberation" of the embattled city from Islamic State (IS) group fighters. Photo by Fadel Senna/AFP

Trump says end of ISIS caliphate 'in sight' after Raqa's fall

Oct 22, 2017 - 1:14 AM

The declaration comes 4 days after US-backed Kurdish-led forces recaptured Raqa, the last major stronghold of ISIS in Syria

RECAPTURED. Fighters of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) walk down a street in Raqa past destroyed vehicles and heavily damaged buildings on October 20, 2017, after a Kurdish-led force expelled Islamic State (IS) group fighters from the northern Syrian city, formerly their "capital". Photo by Bulent Kilic/AFP

Fighters in Syria's Raqa prepare for civilian handover

Oct 20, 2017 - 11:37 AM

Raqa's capture leaves the jihadists with little remaining territory in Syria, most of it in neighboring Deir Ezzor province, where some SDF fighters are already headed to carry on the campaign

Forces comb ghost city Raqa after ISIS ouster

Oct 19, 2017 - 7:24 AM

US-backed forces comb the ruins of Raqa for survivors and bombs after retaking the Syrian city from Islamic State (ISIS) group jihadists

SAFETY CHECK. A member of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) inspects the municipal stadium in Raqa on October 18, 2017, after the US-backed forces retook the city from Islamic State (ISIS) group fighters. Bulent Kilic/AFP

ISIS loses emblematic Syria stronghold Raqa

Oct 17, 2017 - 8:55 PM

The victory caps a battle of more than 4 months for Raqa, and hammers another nail in the coffin of the jihadist group's experiment in statehood

RETAKEN. 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. Bulent Kilic/AFP

3,000 civilians flee Syria's Raqa under deal – militia spokesman

Oct 15, 2017 - 9:37 PM

'More than 3,000 civilians left on Saturday night as part of a deal and went to areas controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces,' says militia spokesman Talal Sello

FLEEING RAQA. Displaced Syrians walk at a temporary camp in the northern Syrian village of Ain Issa on June 10, 2017, where many people who fled the Islamic State group stronghold of Raqa are taking shelter. File photo by Delil Souleiman/ AFP

Dozens of IS fighters surrender as Raqa's fall nears

Oct 14, 2017 - 9:27 PM

The city's loss would be a new blow for IS, which has already been driven from its strongholds in Iraq including second city Mosul

100 ISIS fighters surrender in Raqa in 24 hours

Oct 14, 2017 - 6:13 PM

"Within the past 24 hours, approximately 100 ISIS terrorists have surrendered in Raqa, and were removed from the city," the coalition says.

AFTERMATH. This file photo taken on September 22, 2017 shows the damage in the embattled northern Syrian city of Raqa. Photo by Delil Souleiman / AFP

U.S.-backed force seizes 90% of Syria's Raqa from ISIS

Sep 20, 2017 - 5:54 PM

Under siege in the northern city for 3 months, ISIS is struggling to defend its one-time bastion under a barrage of air strikes by the US-led coalition battling the jihadists in Syria and Iraq

WELCOME. Children flash the victory gesture as a military convoy carrying US-made Oshkosh armored vehicles, bulldozers, and arms headed for Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighting in Raqa, passes through the northeastern Syrian city of Qamishli on September 19, 2017. Delil Souleiman/AFP

Civilians in ISIS-held Raqa under fire 'from all sides' – Amnesty

Aug 24, 2017 - 12:35 PM

Residents trapped in the Syrian city of Raqa face the threat of air strikes and intense artillery fire

Members of an Armenian Christian family who fled from Raqa stand near fighters from the Syriac Military Council (SMC), a Christian unit battling alongside the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces to oust the Islamic State from their Syrian stronghold, on August 8, 2017 in Jazra, a western suburb of Raqa. Sawsan Karapetyan and her family lived years of fear as some of the only Christians in the Islamic State group's Syrian stronghold Raqa, and on August 8, she fled clutching her rosary. They were rescued by Christian fighters participating in the battle to oust IS from Raqa, who brought them to the safety of the western Jazra suburb in the back of a truck.  / AFP PHOTO / Delil souleiman / “The erroneous mention appearing in the metadata of this photo by Delil souleiman has been modified in AFP systems in the following manner: Inserting correct caption instead of the one sent. Please immediately remove the erroneous mention[s] from all your online services and delete it (them) from your servers. If you have been authorized by AFP to distribute it (them) to third parties, please ensure that the same actions are carried out by them. Failure to promptly comply with these instructions will entail liability on your part for any continued or post notification usage. Therefore we thank you very much for all your attention and prompt action. We are sorry for the inconvenience this notification may cause and remain at your disposal for any further information you may require.

U.S.-backed forces breach ISIS defenses in heart of Syria's Raqa

Jul 04, 2017 - 11:55 AM

3rd UPDATE The landmark advance in ISIS s notorious Syria bastion comes as the jihadists face an expected defeat within days in Iraq s second city Mosul

NEAR RAQA. In this file photo, a fighter from the Syriac Military Council (SMC), a small minority of Christian fighters supporting the Syrian Democratic Forces in the combat against the Islamic State (ISIS) group, walks in the suburb of al-Rumaniya on the western outskirts of Raqa on June 27, 2017, after the area was seized from the jihadists. Delil Souleiman/AFP

U.S.-backed forces cut off last ISIS escape route from Raqa

Jun 30, 2017 - 2:36 PM

But ISIS fighters hit back with a counterattack that included several suicide bombings against the Syrian Democratic Forces an alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters trying to seize control of the city

RAQA. A fighter from the Syriac Military Council (SMC), a small minority of Christian fighters supporting the Syrian Democratic Forces in the combat against the Islamic State (IS) group, walks in the suburb of al-Rumaniya on the western outskirts of Raqa on June 27, 2017, after the area was seized from the jihadists. Photo by Delil Souleiman/AFP

Daunting aid challenges as civilians flee Syria's Raqa

Jun 14, 2017 - 10:39 AM

A key problem is getting aid supplies to the relatively remote desert region in Syria s north with just a trickle of assistance currently crossing from neighboring Turkey and Iraq

ESCAPE. Displaced Syrians walk at a temporary camp in the northern Syrian village of Ain Issa on June 10, 2017, where many people who fled the Islamic State (ISIS) group stronghold of Raqa are taking shelter. Delil Souleiman/AFP

U.S.-backed Syria force advances in Raqa, battles for base

Jun 12, 2017 - 1:15 AM

The Syrian Democratic Forces says its fighters had liberated the neighborhood of Al Romaniya on the western front of Raqa

Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) made up of an alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters, unloaded boxes of ammunition, supplied by the US-led coalition, in a village north of Raqa on June 7, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / DELIL SOULEIMAN

U.S. man convicted after agreeing to be ISIS suicide bomber

Jun 08, 2017 - 8:02 PM

Mohamad Jamal Khweis will be sentenced on October 13 and faces a mandatory minimum of 5 years and a maximum of life in prison

U.S.-backed fighters thrust into ISIS bastion Raqa

Jun 06, 2017 - 5:25 PM

3rd UPDATE The attack on the northern city at the heart of ISIS Syrian territory has been 7 months in the making and is backed by air support military advisers and weapons deliveries from the US led coalition

Trump, Erdogan agree on Syria cooperation, CIA chief visit – Ankara

Feb 08, 2017 - 6:29 PM

Erdogan has high hopes of Trump after expressing disappointment in the past with the former US administration of Barack Obama

TURKEY'S ERDOGAN. President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan gestures as he delivers a speech in Ankara on February 7, 2017. Photo by Adem Altan / AFP

Suspected coalition raids cut water to ISIS Syria bastion

Feb 03, 2017 - 4:47 PM

A pipeline running along the Old Bridge into Raqa – the only way residents could get water – is destroyed by overnight air strikes

ISIS tightens grip in Syria bastion Raqa as assault nears

Nov 16, 2016 - 11:54 AM

Residents say jihadists are trying to tighten their grip on power in Raqa as US backed forces near the Islamic State ISIS group s Syrian bastion

ESCAPING ISIS. Syrians women and children rest on the way from areas controlled by jihadists of the Islamic State (ISIS) group, en route to safety in areas held by by Kurdish-Arab Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) alliance, on November 9, 2016, near the village of Mazraat Khaled, some 40 km away from ISIS's de-facto capital of Raqa. Delil Souleiman/AFP

Iraqi forces recapture ancient city of Nimrud

Nov 14, 2016 - 1:35 AM

Nimrud which is classified as a UNESCO world heritage site is retaken from the Islamic State

(FILES) This file photo taken on April 09, 2013 shows a partial view of an ancient statue dated from the Assyrian civilization, at the archaeological site of Nimrud that lies on the Tigris River around 30 kilometres (18 miles) southeast of Mosul, Iraq's second city.  Iraqi forces said on November 13, 2016 they had recaptured the Nimrud area, the site of an ancient Assyrian city blown up by the Islamic State group, as they battled the jihadists south of Mosul.   / AFP PHOTO / Hubert Debbasch

Battle for ISIS-held Mosul nears ancient site

Nov 11, 2016 - 12:45 AM

Troops and allied militia are moving forward on two villages close to ancient Nimrud

Iraqi forces flash the V-sign from their vehicle as they hold a position near the village of Arbid on the southern outskirts of Mosul on November 9, 2016, during the ongoing military operation to retake Mosul from the Islamic State (IS) group. / AFP PHOTO / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE

Coalition strike 'kills 20 civilians' near ISIS-held Raqa

Nov 10, 2016 - 1:35 PM

The Syrian Democratic Forces the militia alliance that Washington is supporting in the assault denies the civilian deaths

Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a US-backed Kurdish-Arab alliance, are seen near the Syrian town of Ain Issa, some 50 kilometres (30 miles) north of Raqa, the Islamic State group (IS)'s de facto Syrian capital, after the SDF alliance launched an offencive to retake the IS stronghold, on November 7, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / DELIL SOULEIMAN

US-backed forces launch assault on Syrian ISIS 'capital'

Nov 07, 2016 - 12:55 AM

The operation to liberate Raqa dubbed Wrath of the Euphrates involves some 30 000 fighters

Jihan Sheikh Ahmed (C), a spokeswoman for the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), holds a press conference in the town of Ain Issa, some 50 kilometres north of Raqa, on November 6, 2016, to announce that the US-backed alliance has began a long-awaited operation to capture the Islamic State group's de facto Syrian capital Raqa. "The major battle to liberate Raqa and its surroundings has begun," Jihan Sheikh Ahmed said at the press conference in Ain Issa. The operation, dubbed "The Wrath of the Euphrates," comes as Iraqi forces backed by the US-led coalition press an assault to take the jihadist group's Iraqi stronghold of Mosul. / AFP PHOTO / DELIL SOULEIMAN

Russia denies role in bloody strike on Syria school

Oct 28, 2016 - 10:22 AM

UN Secretary General Ban Ki moon demands an immediate probe into the October 26 attack on the school in rebel held Idlib province that he says may amount to a war crime

WAR CRIME? A Syrian man checks the damage at a school after it was hit in an air strike in the village of Hass, in the south of Syria's rebel-held Idlib province on October 26, 2016. Photo by Omar haj kadour/AFP

Syria army thrusts into ISIS bastion province Raqa

Jun 04, 2016 - 5:38 PM

UPDATED The troops advance towards the country s largest dam for the first time since 2014

ISIS threatens US, tries to rally support in new audio message

May 22, 2016 - 11:13 AM

The audio recording reportedly featuring ISIS spokesman Abu Mohamed al Adnani is posted online late Saturday evening after much fanfare by ISIS supporters on Twitter

ISIS IN YEMEN. A Yemeni inspects the site of suicide car bombings targeting security checkpoints in the southern port city of Aden, Yemen, March 26, 2016. File photo by EPA

Poe case, Obama in Manila, France vs ISIS | 6PM wRap

Nov 17, 2015 - 7:10 PM

Watch the 6PM edition of Rappler s newscast The wRap

US steps up anti-ISIS raids, Iran invited to Syria talks

Oct 28, 2015 - 11:40 AM

Friday s October 30 talks in Vienna are seen as a way to end Syria s civil war by creating an interim unity regime and paving the way for Syrian President Bashar al Assad s exit

These US Navy F-18E Super Hornets were part of a large coalition strike package that was the first to strike Islamic State (IS or ISIL) targets in Syria. File photo by US Dept of Defense/Sgt Shawn Nicke/Handout/EPA

Jordan says pilot murder 'turning point' in IS fight

Feb 07, 2015 - 5:45 PM

A minister says air strikes carried out so far by Jordan are the beginning of an ongoing process to eliminate the Islamic State group

ANGER AND SORROW. Supporters and family members of Jordanian pilot First Lieutenant Maaz al-Kassasbeh, 26-year-old, gather following his reported killing, at the Karak tribal gathering chamber or Diwan, in the Jordanian capital Amman on February 3, 2015. Photo from AFP

Parents of US hostage appeal to Islamic State captors

Feb 07, 2015 - 3:56 PM

The Muellers say there s no proof to support the claim that their 26 year old daughter has been killed in Syria

KAYLA MUELLER. An undated handout photo provided by the Daily Courier shows US aid worker Mueller after speaking about the situation in Syria and efforts to build a second camp for Syrian refugees in Turkey. EPA/MATT HINSHAW

Qaeda unit in Syria border town joins ISIS

Jun 25, 2014 - 10:25 PM

After months of clashes between the the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and the Al Nusra Front in several parts of Syria Nusra s Albu Kamal branch pledged loyalty to ISIS


Dozens killed in Syria, watchdog to probe chlorine claims

Apr 30, 2014 - 12:18 PM

The regime and rebels have blamed each other for using chlorine in at least one attack

ALMOST THERE. Syria's chemical weapons are due to be destroyed by June 30. A majority of storage and productions sites are now closed, according to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical and the United Nations. File photo by Evert-Jan Daniels/EPA

Syria rebels lay siege to Qaeda-linked jihadists

Jan 06, 2014 - 11:48 PM

Raqa the site of the seige is the latest front in a fight pitting a broad coalition of moderates and Islamists opposed to President Bashar al Assad against the Al Qaeda linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant

Syria jets pound city captured by rebels

Mar 07, 2013 - 4:47 PM

The rebels are believed to be holding the provincial governor whom they captured during the battle inside the building which has now become their headquarters the Britain based Observatory said

At least 30 dead in 'air strike' on Syria fuel station

Sep 20, 2012 - 10:42 PM

At least 30 civilians were killed and dozens more wounded in an explosion at a petrol station in Syria which activists said was an air strike

OUT OF CONTROL VIOLENCE. The Syrian flag flutters above Damascus on September 20, 2012. AFP PHOTO/LOUAI BESHARA