Video Duration 25 minutes 30 seconds
From: Inside Story

Could battle for Raqqa bring the end of ISIL in Syria?

Syrian Democratic Forces have launched a major operation against ISIL’s last stronghold in Syria.

When ISIL took control of Raqqa in 2014, the Syrian province became the first to fall under the armed group’s full control.

ISIL fighters went on a rampage killing thousands of civilians and used Raqqa city to plan attacks overseas.

Now, three years later, the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces have launched, according to them, the final assault to take back Raqqa from ISIL. It is not clear how many ISIL fighters are still inside the city.

But an SDF spokesman says some ISIL fighters appear to be withdrawing from the province’s capital, using civilians as human shields. Others have been allowed to leave after a deal was brokered by tribal leaders on Saturday.

So, will the battle for Raqqa mean the end of ISIL in Syria?

Presenter: Sami Zeidan


Sami Nader – director of the Levant Institute for Strategic Affairs

Sonia Khush – Syria director for Save The Children

Joshua Landis – director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma