Battle against Islamic State for Raqqa nears end

The battle to take the Syrian city of Raqqa back from Islamic State (IS) is entering its final phase. Three years ago it became home to thousands of extremists who ruled with immense brutality.

Since June a US-backed coalition has fought to take back control, successfully forcing IS into a small enclave.

There are only thought to be about 300 IS fighters left in the city, after five months of fighting.

Raqqa was once the capital of their caliphate; now it has been reduced to rubble.

IS has dug tunnels to attack behind coalition lines, and has covered the city in booby traps.

The surviving IS fighters have taken shelter in Raqqa's hospital, where they hold civilian hostages.

"There are many civilians being held. We can't use heavy weaponry or air strikes around the hospital or stadium, so we'll encircle them as we advance," Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) commander Haval Gabar told Reuters.

"The hospital will be the last point [in Raqqa] to be freed."

IS has nowhere else to go. But digging them out will be difficult.

ITV News / Newshub.