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Oct 20, 3:52 AM EDT

US-backed Syrian force expected to declare victory in Raqqa

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AP Photo/Gabriel Chaim

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BEIRUT (AP) -- A U.S.-backed Syrian force is expected to declare victory in the northern city of Raqqa days after it said it cleared it from members of the Islamic State group.

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces is scheduled to hold a news conference at noon Friday during which the city will be declared free of extremists.

The SDF is also expected to hand over authority in the city to a local council and a 3,000-member police force made up mostly of residents of Raqqa province.

The fall of Raqqa marks a major defeat for IS, which has seen its territories steadily shrink since last year. IS took over Raqqa, located on the Euphrates River, in January 2014, and transformed it into the epicenter of its brutal rule.

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