The Battle for Raqqa

In 2014, ISIS seized control of the northern Syrian city of Raqqa, and it soon became the de facto capital of the ferociously expanding Islamic State. Beginning in 2016, and building on progress made against ISIS in Iraq, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a U.S.-backed Kurdish-Arab alliance, started advancing on Raqqa. This summer, SDF troops supported by U.S. special forces fought their way into the sprawling city, accompanied by heavy coalition airstrikes on ISIS positions, reducing much of the city to piles of rubble. Thousands of civilians remain trapped in Raqqa, some used as human shields by ISIS militants, others too sick, injured, or terrified to venture into a warzone to escape—and according to Reuters, these civilians are paying a heavy toll in the final weeks and months of the battle.

Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • Joan Mateu Parra / AP

    Photos of the Week: Lightning Rod, Crown Fountain, Lunar Transit

    Surfing at a water park in Italy, Ivan Kupala day in Russia, a robotic rover on Mount Etna, a Pride parade in Mexico City, National Paddy Day in Nepal, and much more

  • NASA / JPL-Caltech / University of Arizona

    The Dust Devils of Mars

    Beautiful images from another world, of a delicate, ephemeral phenomenon

  • Leon Neal / Getty

    Scenes From Glastonbury 2022

    Images from this year’s Glastonbury Festival—back after a two-year COVID-19 hiatus

  • Peter Zay / Anadolu Agency / Getty

    Photos: Protests Against the Overturning of Roe

    Images of protest from Houston, Atlanta, Boston, Seattle, Denver, Raleigh, St. Louis, Portland, New York, Nashville, and many other locations