Clashes in areas in the stronghold of ISIS and more bombardments hit Al-Raqqah city
Al-Raqqah Province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights: the SOHR learned that clashes continue in Al-Raqqah city between the Syria Democratic Forces backed by the US Special forces on one hand and ISIS on the other in areas in the city. Clashes concentered in Nazlat Shhada neighborhood, Al-Bareed area and other areas in the Old City in an attempt by the SDFs to advance more into the area and thus clamp down on ISIS inside the city. ISIS has already lost more than half of the city, which used to be its main stronghold and capital in Syria. Clashes are accompanied by the continuous hovering of the International Coalition and reconnaissance aircrafts in the city skies and by airstrikes carried out by the International Coalition targeting ISIS-controlled areas where there are still tens of thousands of civilians who are stuck between ISIS and the International Coalition.
The SOHR published yesterday that the International coalition continues its intensive and renewed bombardments on the neighborhoods of Al-Raqqah city, which is still controlled by the “Islamic State” organization. This escalation comes as part of the Grand Battle of Al-Raqqah, by means of which the Syria Democratic Forces supported by the US Special Forces and the International Coalition warplanes, aim at expelling the “Islamic State” organization out of the city, which was considered its main stronghold and capital in Syria. The shelling caused more fatalities as the number of Syrian civilians whose death was documented by the Syrian Observatory in the city of Al-Raqqah and its countryside since the 5th of June 2017 until yesterday, the 29th of July, rose to at least 413, including an SOHR activist. Specifically, 397 civilians, including at least 76 children below the age of 18, and 53 women above the age of 18, were killed in the city of Al-Raqqah. In addition, 16 civilians, including 3 children and 4 women, were killed in raids on the village of Zor al-Shamar and another area at the southern banks of the Euphrates in the eastern countryside of Al-Raqqah. The airstrikes also left hundreds of civilians injured, with varied degrees of severity, some of whom had their limbs amputated, some were left with permanent disabilities, and some are still in a critical condition. Thus, the death toll is still likely to rise. Moreover, tens of houses and public utilities were destroyed as a result of the intensive shelling that targeted the city and its surroundings.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also observed that the airstrikes of the international coalition’s warplanes, the intensive shelling on the city of Al-Raqqah and its outskirts, and the military operations taking place in the city, including bombardments, bombings and clashes with the “Euphrates Wrath” Operation Forces, which are formed of the Syria Democratic Forces, the Syrian Elite Forces and the US Special Forces backed by the Coalition’s warplanes, since the beginning of the grand battle of Al-Raqqah until the 24th of 2017, have killed at least 536 members of the “Islamic State” organization, including local commanders and group commanders. Information about more casualties among ISIS and the injury of tens of others was confirmed. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights documented over the same period of time the death of 241 fighters of the “Euphrates Wrath” Operation Forces, including 2 fighters of the Syrian Elite Forces and 4 fighters of American, Georgian and British nationalities. The rest are fighters of the Syria Democratic Forces, who is mainly formed of the YPG, and fighters of Manbij Military Council, who were killed in bombardments and bombings and during clashes with the “Islamic State” organization in the city of Al-Raqqah and the southern banks of the Euphrates.