(MENAFN - Daily Outlook Afghanistan) DAMASCUS - The major achievement for Syria in 2017 was perhaps the defeat of the Islamic State (IS), a development that nourishes hopes and paves the way for a possible political solution to the nearly seven-year-old civil war in 2018, after several setbacks in the course of negotiations.
FALL OF IS
On Oct. 17, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), backed by the U.S., fully captured the northern city of Raqqa, almost three years after the terrorist group declared the city as the capital of its self-styled caliphate in Syria.
It took the SDF four months to defeat the IS in Raqqa, with the heavy backing of the U.S.-led anti-terror coalition.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor group, 3,250 people, including 1,130 civilians, were killed during the four-month intense battles in Raqqa.
The London-based watchdog also said 80 percent of Raqqa was destroyed owing to the heavy bombing by both the SDF and the U.S.-led coalition.
In tandem with the SDF's attacks on Raqqa, the Russian-backed Syrian army was making strides in the battles against IS militants in the eastern province of Deir al-Zour, which boasts key oil and gas fields and was thus deemed as the economic capital of the IS.
On Nov. 3, the Syrian army declared the liberation of the entire city of Deir al-Zour from the IS, after months of battles in the capital city that bears the same name with the province. (Xinhua)