Azerbaijani and Asian battalions refuse to surrender and the Syrian fighters are afraid of execution in case they were not able to runaway
It seems that the violent battles in Al-Raqqah city between ISIS on one hand and the Syria Democratic Forces (SDF) backed by the US Special Forces on the other will never come to an end. Reliable Sources informed the SOHR that battles in the city have intensified during the past week. Battles were accompanied by an increase in bombings carried out by ISIS by means of booby-trapped cars in the city, mainly targeting positions of the “Euphrates Wrath” Operation Forces. Clashes caused many fatalities at both sides. Vehicles carrying the dead bodies of SDF fighters were observed heading out of Al-Raqqah city towards its western countryside. In addition, the dead bodies of the ISIS members can be observed caught in the crossfire, in areas of clashes and at the contact lines. Sources also confirmed that the pace of violence is increasing in such clashes and that they are accompanied by intensive shelling by the International Coalition on areas in the city in addition to the explosions caused by the booby-trapped cars. This led ISIS to allow around 3 thousand people to flee such areas to other areas, and most of those people headed towards SDF-controlled areas.
The SOHR observed the situation in Al-Raqqah city where tens of thousands of civilians are still present in ISIS-controlled areas, trapped between the hammer of ISIS and the anvil of the International Coalition, which causes more and more casualties one day after the other in Al-Raqqah city by means of their escalated daily shelling on the city, which used to be the main stronghold and capital of ISIS in Syria. Moreover, the only way out of that trap is planted with landmines that leave more martyrs and injured each time. The SOHR documented the exhumation of 6 dead bodies during the past 24 hours by the SDF. The dead bodies belonged to 6 civilians who tried to escape the inevitable death hovering around them and their families to faraway areas only to find death waiting for them on the way of salvation. Such fear of death was accompanied by the lack of a lot of food items and significant decrease in others. Reliable sources confirmed the absence of vegetables and fruits in the city market in addition to the significant shortage in medicines and drinking water and their surging prices. Thus, the civilians still residing in Al-Raqqah depend mainly on grains, rice and legumes which have been stored by the city citizens or the shops. Moreover, ISIS members are breaking into the shops and seizing its contents, especially clothes shops.
The SOHR also learned from reliable sources that ISIS depend on slaughtering sheep as a source of food and on preparing the food of their soldiers in their own kitchens. Those reliable sources confirmed to the SOHR that many ISIS members, especially of Syrian nationality, wish to leave ISIS-controlled areas and flee the city of Al-Raqqah but they are afraid of getting executed by the Organization in case they fail to escape. On the other hand, the Asian fighters refuse to surrender as the Azerbaijani and Asian Battalions are still centered in areas of clashes refusing to surrender or escape. “We will not escape, it is either victory or death” said their members. In addition, the spirit of resentment is prevailing among the people of Al-Raqqah city because of the daily massacres perpetrated by the International Coalition, targeting civilians and the displaced who fled to the city under the pretext of the existence of an ISIS sniper in a building or on top of another.
It is worth mentioning that hundreds of families managed during the past few weeks, since the start of the Grand Battle of Al-Raqqah on the 6th of June 2017, to flee ISIS-controlled areas to areas controlled by the SDF who lead the “Euphrates Wrath” Operation which was launched on the 6th of November 2016 and who took control of vast areas of Al-Raqqah city until they managed to control over %50 of Al-Raqqah city area, which was considered the main stronghold and capital of ISIS in Syria.
Pictures by the SOHR showing the arrival of the displaced to the southern part of Al-Raqqah city which is under the control of the SDF. Tens of the displaced arrived to Nazlat Shhada neighborhood, including some injured persons who received treatment there upon their arrival.