September 4th, 2017 17:47 EST
Syrian Democratic Forces Clear Great Mosque of Raqqa
Coalition officials offered congratulations today to the Syrian Democratic Forces on the successful Sept. 2 clearance of the Great Mosque of Raqqa.
The seizure of Raqqa`s Old City district, and especially the Great Mosque, is a milestone in the ongoing battle to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria in Raqqa and all of Syria Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials said in a statement.
In addition, officials noted, the Syrian Democratic Forces and Syrian Arab Coalition evacuated thousands of civilians and went to great lengths to limit damage to infrastructure, including to the ancient mosque.
Dedication and Courage
The Great Mosque is the oldest mosque in the city and has been under ISIS control since 2014, when the terrorist group captured the city. ISIS deliberately and consistently uses protected civilian infrastructure such as schools, hospitals and mosques as headquarters, weapons factories and finance hubs, officials said.
"The liberation of this historic landmark is a testimony to the dedication and courage of the SDF as they fight to defeat ISIS in Raqqa," said coalition spokesman Army Col. Ryan Dillon. "The SDF have made consistent incremental gains in the urban terrain of the city, fighting block by block, and applying increasing pressure on ISIS each day while evacuating civilians along the way."
The coalition provides the SDF with equipment, training, intelligence, precision fire support and military advice to leaders as they fight to defeat ISIS in Raqqa and throughout Syria, officials said.
Photo Credit: Wikipedia