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US-led 2017 blitz on Syria's Raqa killed 1,600 civilians: report

Beirut - Intensive US-led coalition bombardment on the Syrian city of Raqa killed more than 1,600 civilians over four months in 2017, according to a report released on Thursday.

Largest IS mass grave yet found outside Syria's Raqa

Ak - Two feet deep, below a plot of farmland outside the Syrian city of Raqa, lies a large and deadly legacy of the Islamic State group: a mass grave holding an estimated 3,500 people.

Outside Raqa, displaced Syrians brace for winter in tents

Ak - As dust whips up around them, families from Syria's Raqa ready their tents for the coming winter, still homeless a year after the Islamic State group was expelled from their city.

One year after IS 'defeat', Syria's Raqa still in fear

Ak - A year after a US-backed alliance of Syrian fighters drove the Islamic State group from the northern city of Raqa, traumatised civilians still live in fear of near-daily bombings.

Retaken but not rebuilt: Syria's Raqa a year after IS ouster

Ak - All day, dinghies cross the Euphrates River to shuttle residents into the pulverised cityscape of Syria's Raqa, where bridges, homes, and schools remain gutted by the offensive against the Islamic State group.

Syrians search for IS captives a year after caliphate crumbles

Ak - When the Islamic State group lost its Syrian bastion Raqa last year, Amani hoped to finally uncover what happened to her husband who had vanished in the jihadists' prisons.

Year after IS lost Syria's Raqa, holdout hospital awaits recovery

Ak - Shattered ultrasound machines and prosthetic limbs litter the hallways of Raqa's main hospital, still gutted a year after the Islamic State group made its infamous last stand in its Syrian heartland.

Syria forces impose 'curfew' in Raqa fearing instability, IS

Beirut - Security forces in Syria's Raqa announced a two-day curfew starting Sunday, citing instability and fears of Islamic State group attacks in the jihadists' former stronghold.

To fast or not? Free of IS, Syrians in Raqa mark relaxed Ramadan

Ak - To fast or not to fast? For the first time in years, Syrians in Raqa can choose to observe a relaxed Ramadan, without the rigid regulations imposed by the Islamic State group and their religious police.

Syrian lawyer involved in Raqa IS deal found dead: Kurds

Beirut - A prominent lawyer involved in a deal that saw some Islamic State jihadists given safe passage out of their Syrian bastion Raqa last year was found dead on Thursday, authorities said.

At beloved falafel shop, Syrians get taste of pre-war Raqa

Ak - Raqa is still mostly a sinister ghost town of gutted buildings and rubble-strewn streets but there is one place teeming with activity in the Syrian city: Ammar Qassab's falafel shop.

This Christmas, Raqa's churches demined but deserted

Ak - Two historic churches in Syria's Raqa will be declared free of explosives just in time for Christmas, but the devastation in the city has left no one to celebrate in them.

Turkey condemns 'escape' of Raqa jihadists

Ankara - Turkey on Wednesday condemned as "an extremely grave revelation" the potential escape of hundreds of jihadists from the Syrian city of Raqa, saying it underscored the perils of Washington's alliance with Kurdish fighters.

First civilians return to Raqa after mines cleared: US-backed force

Birut - Hundreds of civilians have returned to a battered district of Syria's Raqa in what a US-backed force said was the first wave of returns since it cleared explosives left by jihadists.

Lipstick, mixed dancing at first Raqa wedding since IS

Ak - At a house in Syria's Raqa, women and men danced together in celebration at a wedding that would have been unimaginable just months ago, when the Islamic State group ruled the city.

In Raqa, jihadists are gone but they can still kill

Ak - Dozens of civilians at a checkpoint into Raqa were pleading to be let through to inspect their homes when an explosion ripped through the air: one resident had slipped in.

Russia likens US coalition bombing of Raqa to WWII Dresden

Moscow - Russia on Sunday accused the US-led coalition in Syria of having flattened Raqa with a Dresden-like bombing campaign and masking the destruction with a rush of humanitarian aid.

In ravaged Raqa, clues to IS's bygone media empire

Ak - "Special operations by the Caliphate's soldiers!" boasts a torn, blood-stained pamphlet at a bombed-out media kiosk in Syria's Raqa, a symbol of the Islamic State group's once fearsome propaganda machine.

Heartbroken residents get glimpse of Raqa in ruins

Ak - Tears streaming down her freckled face, 35-year-old Asya took in the shattered glass, gutted storefronts and crumbling cafes -- all that remain of her favourite shopping street in Syria's Raqa.

France sees Bataclan vengeance in Raqa victory

Madrid - France's Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Friday that the devastating November 2015 Paris attacks had "not gone unpunished" after the Islamic State group was expelled from its Syrian stronghold Raqa.

Kurdish-led force hails 'historic' Raqa victory but handover on hold

Ak - The Kurdish-led force that expelled the Islamic State group from Syria's Raqa hailed a "historic victory" Friday in the devastated city's stadium and vowed to hand power to a civilian administration.

Free but in ruins, uphill struggle to rebuild Syria's Raqa

Birut - The Islamic State group's former Syrian stronghold Raqa has been captured, but it lies ruined, littered with explosives, and lacking electricity or running water for residents desperate to return.

Fighters in Syria's Raqa prepare for civilian handover

Ak - US-backed forces who captured Raqa from the Islamic State group prepared to hand the Syrian city over to a civilian authority, with some of their fighters already headed to the next battle.

After IS, rotting corpses and empty jail cells in Syria's Raqa

Ak - Days ago in Syria's Raqa, die-hard jihadists made their final stand in the city's national hospital. On Wednesday, it stood eerily silent, its entrance inhabited only by swarming flies and two rotting corpses.

Forces comb ghost city Raqa after IS ouster

Ak - Two days after retaking Raqa from Islamic State group jihadists and dealing their dreams of statehood a fatal blow, US-backed forces combed the ruins of the Syrian city for survivors and bombs.

Fighters celebrate Raqa victory on 'Roundabout of Hell'

Ak - With his only hand, Hazem Kobane planted the yellow flag of the Syrian Democratic Forces on Tuesday in the notorious roundabout in Raqa where Islamic State group jihadists carried out gruesome beheadings.

Islamic State group loses emblematic Syria stronghold Raqa

Ak - US-backed forces took full control of Raqa from the Islamic State group on Tuesday, defeating the last jihadist holdouts in the de facto Syrian capital of their now-shattered "caliphate".

IS fighters stage last stand as Raqa capture nears

Ak - US-backed fighters battled hundreds of Islamic State group jihadists holed up in the last pockets of Syria's Raqa, as the former extremist stronghold stood on the verge of capture.

US-backed forces in toughest Raqa fighting yet: spokeswoman

Birut - The US-backed Kurdish-Arab alliance fighting to wrest the Syrian city of Raqa from the Islamic State group was engaged Monday in its toughest fighting yet, a spokeswoman said.

To beat IS, Syria force goes backs to basics

Ak - Once the last Islamic State group fighters are ousted from Syria's Raqa, the unconventional forces battling the jihadists say they'll have batteries and masking tape to thank for their victory.
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A fighter from the Syrian Military Council (SMC)  Christian fighters supporting the Syrian Democrati...
A fighter from the Syrian Military Council (SMC), Christian fighters supporting the Syrian Democratic Forces against the Islamic State group, walks on the western outskirts of Raqa on June 27, 2017

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