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Oct 19, 8:00 AM EDT

The Latest: Report: Saudi official visits Syria's Raqqa

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BEIRUT (AP) -- The Latest on the Syrian conflict (all times local):

3 p.m.

A state-linked Saudi news site says a high-level Saudi official is in the Syrian city of Raqqa, which was recently retaken from the Islamic State group, to discuss his country's role in reconstruction efforts.

Okaz quoted unnamed Saudi sources on Thursday as saying that Thamer al-Sabhan is in Raqqa to meet with members of the city's civil council to discuss Saudi Arabia's "prominent role in reconstruction." Okaz says the United Arab Emirates will also play a role in rebuilding.

The report included an image of al-Sabhan apparently in Raqqa with Brett McGurk, the top U.S. envoy for the coalition battling the IS group, of which the kingdom is a member.

Al-Sabhan is minister of state for Arab Affairs. He was previously the ambassador to Iraq, but left amid threats from Iranian-backed militias.


1 p.m.

A Kurdish female militia that took part in freeing the northern Syrian city of Raqqa from the Islamic State group says it will continue the fight to liberate women living under the extremist group's brutal rule.

Nisreen Abdullah of the Women's Protection Units, or YPJ, read a statement Thursday in Raqqa's Paradise Square, where IS fighters once carried out their public killings. She says the all-women force lost 30 members in the four-month battle.

Under Islamic State rule, women were forced to wear all-encompassing veils and could be stoned to death for adultery. Hundreds of women and girls from Iraq's Yazidi minority were captured and forced into sexual slavery.

Abdullah says the YPJ helped liberate dozens of Yazidi women.

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