Bride beams at Raqqa's first wedding since IS fled

Syrians in the city of Raqqa have celebrated their first wedding since so-called Islamic State militants were driven out by US-backed forces.

Under three years of IS rule, singing and dancing were forbidden, strict dress codes were enforced and men and women were not allowed to socialise.

But once the extremists were driven out of Raqqa in mid-October, bride and groom Heba and Ahmed could celebrate in style.

"It's been years since we danced the dabke (folk dance), we're tasting life again," said one guest.

"Everyone was waiting for this moment."

He added: "What use is there to a wedding when everything is black? Today everything is white."

Wedding guests said the years under IS made such parties unthinkable.

Another wedding guest said: "It's been a long time since we had a party.

"We're celebrating with joy this marriage after the end of IS rule."

Heba's day became possible after US-backed forces seized Raqqa in mid-October.

Despite most of their city living in ruins, spirits remained strong at the party.

"Raqqa will be happy again," said one. "No one will prevent us from singing and dancing. We will party as we like."