Russia enters ex-Islamic State stronghold for first time in Syria after US withdraws
Russia’s military reported on Monday that it had for the first time entered a former stronghold of the extremist group Islamic State in northern Syria following a withdrawal of US forces.
The city, al-Raqqa, was liberated from Islamic State two years ago, in October 2017, by Kurdish-led forces backed by the United States.
In recent months, as US President Donald Trump prepares his re-election bid, the US has been withdrawing troops from Syria. This has enabled Russian and Turkish forces to enter previously US-held areas.
“For the first time, Russian military forces have entered the city, nearly destroyed by attacks from the US-led coalition,” the Russian Defence Ministry’s Zvezda news service reported.
Al-Raqqa residents were provided humanitarian assistance, which will be a regular measure, the report said.
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