RAQQA, Syria (CBSMiami) — US backed forces in Syria are celebrating the defeat of ISIS in the former extremist stronghold of Raqqa.READ MORE: Stamkos, Kucherov Lead Lightning Past Panthers 5-1 In Game 3
Earlier on Tuesday the ISIS holdouts had been corralled into the city’s sports stadium after losing their only other position in Raqqa, the hospital.
CBS News’ Holly Williams, one of the few foreign television correspondents to make it into the former ISIS stronghold with the militia known as the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), said Tuesday that there were still thought to be ISIS fighters holed up in buildings and tunnels in the sprawling city.
A spokesman for the U.S.-led military coalition battling ISIS said later Tuesday that were an estimated 100 members of the militant group still in Raqqa. In addition to the holdouts, Williams notes, it could take months before Raqqa is cleared of all the explosives laid by the militants.READ MORE: Alcantara Shuts Down Braves With Six-Hitter
Then, Syrians will have to figure out how to rebuild the shattered city, where there is hardly a building left unscathed.
Williams reported Tuesday morning from al-Naim Circle, in the very heart of Raqqa. It used to be an ordinary traffic circle, but ISIS turned it into a place notorious for public executions, and then posted evidence of those horrific killings on the internet as propaganda.
Al-Naim Circle was taken back by the SDF forces on Monday night, and Williams watched them on the streets of Raqqa celebrating; they were in a victorious mood after a brutal four-month battle for the city.
Some buildings have been pulverized by the fighting, others flattened by U.S. coalition airstrikes. Nearly all of the city’s residents have fled the city and many are living in refugee camps.MORE NEWS: Border Patrol Intercepts Total Of 16 Cuban Migrants In Separate Incidents Sunday
It is a terribly irony, notes Williams, that in order to retake Raqqa from ISIS, it had to be all but destroyed.