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Islamic State continues to terrorize Raqqa

Despite losing its last stronghold in eastern Syria in 2019 and the presence of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, the Islamic State continues to threaten the lives of citizens in Raqqa.
TOPSHOT - A woman cries as she looks at her house in Raqa on October 20, 2017, after a Kurdish-led force expelled the Islamic State group from the northern Syrian city.
For three years, Raqa saw some of IS's worst abuses and grew into one of its main governance hubs, a centre for both its potent propaganda machine and its unprecedented experiment in jihadist statehood.
 / AFP PHOTO / BULENT KILIC        (Photo credit should read BULENT KILIC/AFP via Getty Images)

Although the US-led international coalition and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) — a Kurdish-Arab alliance from the area — declared victory over the Islamic State when they took control of its last strongholds in al-Baghouz in March 2019, the global joy over eliminating the terrorist organization has not reached the people of Raqqa, the former capital of the caliphate, where IS seems to still wield significant influence.

Many of the city's people are still living in fear of the militants. Even if they cannot control the area as they once did, many IS cells are terrorizing civilians with bombings in residential areas, assassinations and threats despite the thousands of SDF soldiers in the area.

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