Ar Raqqah är räk´kä [key] or El Rashid ĕl räshēd´ [key], city (1995 est. pop. 120,000), capital of Ar Raqqah governorate, N Syria, on the Euphrates River. Carpets are manufactured, and the city has an agricultural experimental station. The ancient Nicephorium, Ar Raqqah was prominent during the early Abbasid caliphate. Caliph Harun ar-Rashid built a summer palace there and used the town as military headquarters against Byzantium. Ar Raqqah was destroyed by the Mongols in the early 13th cent.; some ruins remain. In the Syrian civil war that began in 2011 the city was taken by rebels in 2013. From 2014 to 2017 it was the headquarters of the Islamic State , which destroyed Shiite mosques and Christian churches there; widespread devastation resulted from the fight to retake the city. The modern name also appears as Raqqa and Rakka.
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