BEIRUT — U.S.-backed forces in Syria claimed Tuesday that they had full control of the Islamic State’s onetime capital of Raqqa, heralding an end to the militants’ presence in their most symbolically important stronghold and raising new questions about the United States’ future role in Syria.
Mustafa Abdi, a spokesman for the Syrian Democratic Forces, or SDF, said that military operations had halted and that members of the joint Kurdish-Arab force were clearing the city of explosive devices and hunting for sleeper cells.
The U.S. military said a formal victory announcement will come after SDF forces are sure that no pockets of Islamic State resistance remain in the city, but the SDF portrayed the battle for Raqqa as over.
“There is an air of jubilation in the city,” Abdi said. “People are overjoyed that they are finally rid of this scourge.”
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