- Erik de Castro/Reuters
- Drone footage shows the bombed-out city of Raqqa, Syria on the cusp of liberation from ISIS earlier this week. On Tuesday, US-backed forces officially claimed control of the city, the de facto Islamic State capital, which was captured by ISIS in 2014.
Drone footage obtained by CNN earlier this week shows the Syrian city of Raqqa, the de facto capital of the Islamic State terrorist group, barren and bombed-out on the cusp of its liberation by US-backed forces.
The footage exposes a city, the sixth largest in Syria prior to the civil war, devastated by years of heavy fighting, which intensified in recent months as the US-led coalition attempted to take control.
The video shows overheard views of Paradise Square, once used by ISIS as a public space for beheadings and crucifixions, Raqqa’s National Hospital, which is believed to have been used by ISIS to hold civilians, who were used as human shields, and a stadium where foreign militants are believed to have been based.
While the fall of Raqqa is seen by many experts as a turning point in the fight against ISIS, Western and Middle Eastern military and intelligence officials are preparing themselves for a new incarnation of the terrorist group.
Experts say on-the-ground efforts to eradicate ISIS will not necessarily reduce the occurrence of ISIS-inspired lone wolf attacks, both in the Middle East and in the West.
Watch the drone footage below:
— CNN International (@cnni) October 17, 2017