At a ceremony Friday, the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces declared "total liberation" of Raqqa, Syria, the former de facto capital of the Islamic State's self-proclaimed caliphate, and formally handed over control of the devastated city to a civilian council, though SDF spokesman Talal Silo said his Kurdish-led coalition would continue sweeping the city for ISIS holdouts and explosives and guarantee the safety of the city and province. The SDF had declared military operations over on Tuesday, and Silo said 655 local and international fighters died in the 130-day battle to push ISIS out of Raqqa. The group held its ceremony in the sports stadium that ISIS had used as a weapons depot and prison, where its fighters made their last stand.

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