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Syrian Democratic Forces take Daesh 'Roundabout of Hell'

US-backed fighters assume control of Raqa land infamous for beheadings and crucifixions

Image Credit: AFP
Members of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), backed by US special forces, celebrate at the frontline in the crumbling Daesh stronghold of Raqa on October 16, 2017.

Raqa: US-backed Syrian fighters on Monday said they gained complete control of an infamous Raqa roundabout used by Daesh for public beheadings and crucifixions.

The Syrian Democratic Forces said they had “totally liberated” the northern city’s Al Naim roundabout, dubbed “Roundabout of Hell” by residents under Daesh’s three-year rule.

The capture followed fighting since Sunday near the roundabout, east of the municipal stadium still held by the extremists, the Arab-Kurdish alliance said in a statement.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor, said Daesh withdrew two weeks ago from the area but the SDF could not immediately take control because of land mines.

On Sunday, SDF fighter Hazem Kobane told AFP: “Our forces were combing Al Naim... today. There was no one there.”

The SDF, backed by a US-led coalition, are on the verge of seizing Raqa after having taken around 90 per cent of the extremist group’s former de facto Syrian capital.

Fighting late Monday continued near the city’s stadium and hospital, where 25 extremists surrendered and two suicide attacks failed, the SDF said.

Only around 300 Daesh fighters are believed to remain in the devastated city.