Relief in sight for Raqqa as IS loses control of its capital

News Letter editorial
News Letter editorial

In recent years the Syrian city of Raqqa has been the so-called capital of the barbarian militants known as Islamic State (IS) or Daesh.

IS are one of the most brutal terrorist organisations in modern world history, which is a hideous historical achievement given the savagery that there has been in many parts of the world in different times in recent centuries.

Few regimes, wherever they have been based or whatever the time, however, have stooped to horrors such as cutting off the heads of chosen victims slowly with knives, while they are awake.

IS have also used their ‘caliphate’ as the base from which to plan and order terror attacks on the western world that have been equally depraved, and aimed at slaughtering as many ‘infidel’ civilians as possible.

It is important news that Raqqa seems now to have been liberated from the grip of IS.

This is, people around the world will hope, the beginning of the end of a dark age for the city and the area around it.

But there is much more to do to fight this terrible organisation in its other strongholds in Iraq and Syria.

Since the ill fated allied invasion of Iraq in 2003 there has been intense debate about the merit of western involvement in overseas conflict.

That debate is far from resolved, as President Donald Trump steps up American involvement in Afghanistan for example.

But one thing does seem clear from the rise of a group as dangerous as Islamic State: it will not be feasible for Europe and the United States to stand entirely aloof from what is happening in Syria and the countries around it. When whole territories are ceded to organisations such as IS or the Taleban, there is a risk that the regions they control will be used as a base to orchestrate large scale international terror attacks.

This is a worrying time for the world, but perhaps the long suffering people of Raqqa will now enjoy some relief from their agony.