The Monitor's View One big reason ISIS lost the capital of its caliphate

Islamic State’s defeat in Raqqa was aided by the silent defiance of the city’s Muslims, who held fast to the liberty of conscience in religious belief. 


After a four-month battle, American-backed forces in Syria captured Raqqa on Oct. 17, taking back a city that was the center of power for Islamic State’s “caliphate” since 2014. While the victory was a military one, the real heroes may be the Muslim civilians forced to live under the harsh rule of Islamic State (ISIS) but who silently withheld support. Many never bought into the ISIS notion that religious belief can be enforced, and that violence can triumph over individual conscience.