Al-Raqqah Province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights: Al-Raqqah city is witnessing renewed airstrikes targeting areas controlled by the “Islamic State” organization, which is are about 36% of the city’s area, the city previously used to be the organization’s stronghold in Syria and its capital, and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights learned from several reliable sources that at least 11 citizens including 5 persons of one family (a man, his wife and 3 of their children) were killed in aerial bombardment by the International Coalition on a school area in al-Nahda neighborhood in the western part of Al-Raqqah city, and the death toll is expected to rise because there are some people in critical situation, this massacre raises to at least 989, including an SOHR activist, 234 children and 164 women, the number of civilian citizens documented by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights in Al-Raqqah city and its countryside since the 5th of June 2017 until the 8th of September 2017. And the casualties are 973 civilians including at least 231 children below the age of eighteen and 160 women over the age of eighteen, they were killed in Al-Raqqah city. In addition, 16 civilians, including 3 children and 4 women, were killed in raids on Zor Shamar village and another area at the southern banks of the Euphrates in the eastern countryside of Al-Raqqah. Airstrikes also left hundreds of civilians injured with varied degrees of severity, some of whom had their limbs amputated and some suffered permanent disabilities and others are still in critical conditions, which indicate that the death toll is likely to rise again. Moreover, dozens of houses and public utilities were destroyed as a result of the intensive shelling that targeted the city, its surroundings and outskirts.
These airstrikes are accompanied by continued clashes between Syria Democratic Forces supported by US Special Forces against the “Islamic State” organization in areas in Al-Raqqah city, in an attempt by each party to achieve advancement at the expense of the other party, and the clashes are accompanied by shelling by “Euphrates Wrath” Operation Forces on the clash areas, amid exchange of shelling between both parties, and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights published on the 6th of September 2017 that the grand battle of Al-Raqqah has completed its 3rd month in a row since the 6th of June 2017, which is led by Syria Democratic Forces supported by US Special Forces and International Coalition warplanes, aiming to end the presence of the “Islamic State” organization in the city which used to be its main stronghold and capital in Syria.
The Syria Democratic Forces supported by the US Special Forces, managed to control 64% of the area of Al-Raqqah city, the controlled area of the organization is reduced to 36% of the city, while Al-Raqqah city is witnessing considerable destruction in citizens’ housing, stores, and property, as well as public utilities and infrastructure of the city, and the control of the “Islamic State” organization has been reduced to the neighborhoods of Al-Andalus, Shamal Sekket al-Qitar, al-Huriyah, Teshreen, al-Tawaso’eiyah in the northern part of Al-Raqqah city, also the “Islamic State” organization controls varying proportions of other neighborhoods which are witnessing clashes between the Syria Democratic Forces against the “Islamic State” organization, the neighborhoods of al-Bareed, al-Nahda and al-Dar’eiyah in the western section of the city, and the outskirts of Mansour and al-Ameen, and the neighborhoods of al-Morur and al-Thakanah in the center of Al-Raqqah city, and al-Rawda and Rumila northeast of Al-Raqqah city, while the Syria Democratic Forces control the neighborhoods of al-Sabahiya, Romaniya, Hutteen, Qadisiyah, Yarmouk and Karim west of Al-Raqqah city, and the neighborhoods of Hisham bin Abdul Malik and Nazlat Shhada in the southern part of the city, and al-Sinaa, al-Mashlab, the Old City and al-Batani in the eastern section of the city, and Mansour neighborhood, also they took control of about half of the neighborhoods of Dar’eiyah and al-Morur and reached the outskirts of the neighborhoods al-Amin and al-Thakanah and took control of parts of the neighborhoods of Rumaila, Rawda, L-Bareed and al-Nahda.
This advancement has tightened the grip on the “Islamic State” organization, and the clashes reached the center of Al-Raqqah city, after taking control of the Old City and besieging the center of Al-Raqqah city from 3 sides, accompanied by continuous airstrikes by the International Coalition warplanes and “Euphrates Wrath” Operations Forces on Al-Raqqah city, of which about 80% has become unfit for living as a result of the destruction, while thousands of citizens are still within areas controlled by the “Islamic State” organization, they fell between the hammer and the anvil of the International Coalition, which killed hundreds of the city’s sons and injured hundreds of others, and destroyed a lot of the city, while thousands of other citizens were forced to flee to areas controlled by Syria Democratic Forces and other areas outside Al-Raqqah city, amid increased tragedy of the citizens who remained in the city, where the stored food keep on decreasing with the continuation of the battle, also the city is suffering shortage of drinking water and medical materials so much that the injured people are not receiving aid because there are not enough medical supplies or places to contain them, while people from Al-Raqqah city sent their complaints to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights talking about the growing number of unburied bodies in the city, of those who are under the ruins of destruction or the bodies of members who were killed in the shelling and the clashes, as well as the bodies of civilians in the fire intersecting areas, and the bodies started to smell increasingly, threatening with epidemics and diseases spreading among the remaining citizens in the city.