A U.S.-backed Syrian force has declared victory over the Islamic State group in its former “capital” of Raqqa, declaring the city free of any extremist presence.
At a press conference held inside the city Friday, the Kurdish-led force known as the Syrian Democratic Forces formally handed over administration of the city in northern Syria to a council made up of local officials and tribal leaders.
“Our victory is won against terrorism,” said Talal Sillo, a spokesman and senior SDF commander. The press conference was held inside the city’s sports stadium which Islamic State militants had turned into a huge prison where they incarcerated and tortured their opponents.
Read more: The Islamic State Is Gone. But Raqqa Lies in Pieces
Sillo urged the international community and aid organizations to assist with the city’s reconstruction.