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ISIS completely driven out of their Syrian capital Raqqa

U.S.-backed forces liberate ISIS capital of Raqqa
ABOVE: In a major blow to the so-called Islamic State, coalition forces have declared victory over its de facto capital of Raqqa. As Eric Sorensen reports, any elation at the demise of ISIS as a territorial entity is tempered by the competing interests of regional powers rushing in to fill the power vacuum.

A commander with the U.S.-backed Syrian forces battling the Islamic State says the city of Raqqa has been liberated from ISIS militants and combing operations are underway to clear the city of landmines and extremist sleeper cells.

Brig. Gen. Talal Sillo told The Associated Press on Tuesday that there are no longer clashes going on in the city.

READ MORE: ISIS resistance diminishing in Iraq, says Canadian military commander

Sillo says a formal declaration will follow befitting “the fall of the capital of terrorism.”

Dozens of militants who refused to surrender had made their last stand in the city’s stadium, which had become notorious as a prison and dungeons for the group.

It wasn’t immediately clear if the IS militants are still holed up inside the stadium.

The city of Raqqa fell to the Islamic State group in 2014 and became the de facto capital of their self-styled caliphate.

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WATCH: Powerful drone video captures complete destruction of former ISIS ‘capital’

Powerful drone video captures complete destruction of former ISIS ‘capital’
Powerful drone video captures complete destruction of former ISIS ‘capital’

Losing Raqqa has been a huge blow for the militant group, which has steadily lost territory in Iraq and Syria, including Iraq’s second largest city of Mosul a few months ago. The group declared the city on the banks of the Euphrates River, which it seized from other Syrian rebels in early 2014, to be the capital of its self-styled “caliphate,” transforming the one vibrant metropolis into the epicentre of its brutal rule where opponents were beheaded and terror plots were planned.

READ MORE: Almost 800 Yazidi women and girls who survived ISIS are now in Canada as refugees

On Monday, the Kurdish-led SDF captured “Paradise Square,” Raqqa’s infamous public square where Islamic State militants used to perform killings and beheadings, forcing residents to watch after summoning them with loudspeakers.

Bodies and severed heads would linger there for days, mounted on posts. Residents described how the bodies of those slain would be labelled, each with his or her perceived crime, for the public to see.

WATCH: ISIS spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani killed in Syria

ISIS spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani killed in Syria
ISIS spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani killed in Syria

The square previously known for its famous ice cream shop was quickly renamed from Paradise to Hell Square, Jahim in Arabic.

The Kurdish-run Hawar news agency said with the capture of the hospital, the last black ISIS flag raised in the city had been taken down. A video released by the news agency illustrated the clashes around the hospital building, which appeared riddled with bullets and partly blackened from a fire.

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READ MORE: ISIS releases purported new audio message from top leader al-Baghdadi

The battle for Raqqa began in June and has dragged for weeks as the Syrian fighters faced stiff resistance from the militants.

In the campaign, the city suffered major devastation, leaving most of its building levelled and in ruins.

WATCH: Drone footage shows utter devastation in former ISIS capital of Raqqa

Drone footage shows utter devastation in former ISIS capital of Raqqa
Drone footage shows utter devastation in former ISIS capital of Raqqa