The Battle of Raqqa (March 2013) took place over four days, 2 March to 6 March 2013.
It involved the units from the Muntasir Billah Brigade, FSA (Free Syrian Army), Jabhat an-Nusra, Ahrar ash-Sham (part of the Syrian Islamic Front) and the brigade of Huthaya bin al-Yaman against elements of the Syrian 17th Division.
The battle was also known as the Raid of the Almighty by the rebel forces.
It was also noted for the withdrawal of Syrian 17th Division forces who left mainly without a fight and then retreated west and east.
The rebel forces attacked the city from the north and east.
The city was guarded essentially at four checkpoints. The northern checkpoints were attacked first whilst the eastern checkpoint was abandoned when forces from the Muntasir Billah Brigade and al-Nusra Front approached.
The attacks began on 2 March 2013 with units from Ahrar al-Sham leading the offensive.
Units involved under the Raqqa Liberation Front were:
Ahfad al-Rasul Brigades
Liwa Owais al-Qorani
Muntasir Billah Brigade
Raqqa Revolutionaries Brigade
Euphrates Knights Brigade
Islamic Unity and Liberation Front
Hudhayfah ibn al-Yaman Brigade
Victory of Saladin Battalions
The Brigade of the Trustees of Raqqa force was under the command of Ahrar ash-Sham whilst the Ghuraba al-Sham Battalion was commanded by the Conquest Brigade.
It was noted that in early videos, the role of the Ahrar ash-Sham forces was played down to make it look more like a local offensive and elements from Jabhat al-Wahdet al-Tahrir al-Islamiyye were portrayed as playing significant roles, although they were thought in reality to have not been.
The rebel forces, which mostly Sunni Islamists, totalled about 7,000, verses an estimated total of about 400 Syrian soliders.
The main city square was taken on 4 March 2013 and the city was declared taken on 5 March 2013.
However, there were Syrian loyalist forces that held out until the 6 March 2013 in key locations. However, they too were also eventually defeated.
It was reported that many of the defenders were offered safe passage if they surrendered but that when they did so they were taken away and executed.
After the fall of the city, the Syrian airforce carried out 25 air-strikes against the city in the hope of dislodging the rebel forces.
Raqqa was the first city to fall to the rebel forces in the Syrian Civil War. It was later recaptured in 2017.
The rebel victory was symbolised in part by the toppling of the gold staute of Hafez al-Assad who had been the Syrian president from 1971 to 2000.