The Syrian government has accused the US-led coalition, which helped the Syrian Democratic Force (SDF) liberate Raqqa from Isis this month, of destroying a majority of the city and sacrificing hundreds of civilian lives.
"The US and its allies are celebrating what they call the liberation of Raqqa over the bodies of their victims," a Syrian foreign ministry official source reportedly said in a statement to the country's official news agency.
Raqqa was Isis' de-facto capital until the US-backed alliance of Arab and Kurdish fighters took control and declared it liberated on 20 October, ending four months of gruelling battle.
Damascus claimed that the fighting destroyed more than 90% of Raqqa city by "deliberate and barbaric bombardment" carried out by US-led coalition air strikes. It also resulted in hundreds of civilian deaths.
However, the US command said the intense fighting claimed the lives of more than 1,100 US-supported troops and over 3,900 were wounded. The civilian death toll was put at 1,800, according to estimates by Airwars — a journalist-led transparency project assessing reports of civilian casualties, RT News reported.
Airwars estimated that the months-long battle also led to the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people. Raqqa was under Isis control for nearly three years, where the jihadists had established a caliphate. Damascus claimed that nearly 200,000 people were estimated to be living in the city when the SDF siege began in June.
The Syrian government considers the SDF alliance a rebel group that aims to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad's government. They were opposed to the US coalition assisting the rebel group, but the US backed the alliance to defeat Isis.
"Syria considers the claims of the United States and its so-called alliance about the liberation of Raqqa city from Isis to be lies aiming to divert international public opinion from the crimes committed by this alliance in Raqqa province," the government source told Sana news agency.
The person also said that the US-backed troops "confiscated locals' IDs and documents and subjected them to brutal torture and detainment".
The foreign ministry also accused the SDF of forcefully displacing Raqqa residents and seizing the Syrian government's humanitarian aid sent for civilians.
A woman in Raqqa reportedly told RT News that she witnessed the US coalition bomb a building in the city on 20 October that killed nearly 300 people of 25 families, some of whom were Isis militants but most were civilians.
"Those who died in that house were 25 civilian families, not 25 civilians, but 25 civilian families," the woman reportedly said.
Responding to the allegation, the US' Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve that led the anti-Isis operation in Iraq and Syria said: "There is no evidence to substantiate any claim that 25 families were killed in any Coalition strike during the recent operation to liberate Raqqa.
"The Coalition and our partner forces in Iraq and Syria take extraordinary care to protect the civilian population. We take all reports of civilian casualties seriously and assess all reports as thoroughly as possible," the US command added.