US-backed Syrian forces have celebrated taking Raqqa from Islamic State
by doing doughnuts in their army tank – the same way the militants had marked gaining control of the city three years ago.
After capturing the city in 2014, the jihadist group held a parade at Raqqa’s al Naim roundabout, driving their military tanks in circles as they brandished their black and white flag.
But now, fighters from the Kurdish-Arab Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have raised their yellow flag in the city’s traffic circle as they finally retook the spot, which has been renamed Hell Roundabout.
The spot is infamous as it is where IS would carry out public executions, spiking the severed heads of its opponents on the surrounding fence, and burn books during its reign.
The SDF, which is made up of mainly Kurdish fighters, took full control of Raqqa from IS on Tuesday after, ending the group’s self-proclaimed caliphate and moving the militants out of their last holdouts in Raqqa’s hospital, national stadium and Al-Naim.
:: Raqqa broken in every sense after Islamic State occupation
With his only hand, Hazem Kobane planted the yellow flag in the roundabout, saying: “This is the moment we were waiting for.”
He had lost his left hand in the 2015 fight against IS in the northern Syrian town of Kobani.
“Hell Roundabout is now al Naim Roundabout again,” the fighters cheered, against the backdrop of a city reduced to rubble.
:: The rise and fall of IS in Raqqa
The SDF has been battling since June to take control of Raqqa, where the terror group would command military operations and foreign terror plots, including those in Europe.