A displaced Syrian child from Raqa sits at a camp for internally displaced people in Ain Issa on October 21, 2017. / AFP / Delil souleiman
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Kurdish-led forces Friday declared victory over Daesh (ISIS) in Raqqa, the former "capital" of its self-proclaimed caliphate where militants had terrorized the population for four years -- setting up a climactic last stand for the extremists in the last vestiges of territory they control.Much of what happens next in Raqqa depends on questions with no clear answers, including how Turkey responds, and whether the U.S. stays long enough to stabilize the city and protect gains made by its Kurdish partners.On Friday, the U.S.- led anti-Daesh coalition said in a statement that Raqqa will return to local governance and leadership and that the city's residents now have a chance to control their own future.Syrian President Bashar Assad has vowed to recapture every inch of Syria, including Raqqa.Backed by its Russian and Iranian allies, Syrian government forces have retaken 90 percent of Deir al-Zor city from Daesh in the past month and are making fast advances in Daesh-held areas of the province with the same name. Following Deir al-Zor, the Syrian government may want to go after Raqqa, or negotiate a return of the city with the Kurds. Syrian state-owned media has not reported or commented on the SDF's capture of Raqqa this week.
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