Trump hails liberation of Raqqa as 'critical breakthrough' in anti-ISIS campaign

Tuesday, 24 Oct, 2017

President Donald Trump applauded the capture of the Islamic State's capital Raqqa in Syria in a statement Saturday afternoon.

In a declaration formally announcing Raqqa's liberation from Islamic State after four months of battles, the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said on Friday that Raqqa would be part of a decentralized federal Syria.

US-backed militias on Friday declared the "total liberation" of the Syrian city of Raqqa, which for more than three years was the de facto capital of ISIS.

"The defeat of ISIS in Raqqa represents a critical breakthrough in our worldwide campaign to defeat ISIS and its wicked ideology".

USA -backed forces hailed a "historic victory" on October 20 after expelling the extremist group Islamic State from its self-declared "capital" of Raqqa in Syria, and said they would soon hand power to a civilian administration.

Trump added that the United States will soon enter "a new phase" in Syria, which will focus on de-escalating violence and advancing "lasting peace".

However, Trump used an alternate spelling of the city in his statement. "That is why, in the first days of my Administration, I issued orders to give our commanders and troops on the ground the full authorities to achieve this mission".

One of President Trump's key campaign promises was the destruction of ISIS and so far he is following through with it. The US, he added, will now enter a "new phase" of supporting Syrian security forces and advancing peace.

"If you say you're ISIS and you want to act on ISIS' behalf, you're in", said National Counterterrorism Center Director Nicholas Rasmussen, in a C-Span interview scheduled to air on October 22.

Trump also praised all the coalition partners for their sacrifices in the fight against the ISIS. "They are from the town, know the town's residents and who is for or against the regime", he said.