About 55% of the city of al-Raqqa is under the control of the Syria Democratic Forces as the Grand Battle of al-Raqqa completes its second month • The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights
The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

About 55% of the city of al-Raqqa is under the control of the Syria Democratic Forces as the Grand Battle of al-Raqqa completes its second month

About 1500 persons were killed in the city of al-Raqqa within two months, more than a third of them were civilians, including about 180 children and women

The Grand Battle of al-Raqqa completes today on the 6th of August 2017 the second month since its launch under the command of the SDF backed by the US Special Forces and the International Coalition’s warplane, as the battle is aimed at controlling al-Raqqa city, which was considered the capital and the main stronghold of the “Islamic State” organization in Syria. This battle that witnesses violent clashes every day, is accompanied by artillery and missile shelling and airstrikes as well as booby traps, car bombs, mines and suicide bombings, while the Syria Democratic Forces managed to advance at the expense of the “Islamic State” organization which many of its members, especially those of Syrian nationality, want to leave the organization-held areas and flee the city, though they fear of execution in case they didn’t succeed to flee, while the Asian fighters in the “Islamic State” organization reject surrender, as Azeri and Asian battalions positioned on the fighting fronts reject to surrender or flee the city, stressing that they “will not flee until achieving victory or die there”.

The SOHR documented that the SDF, backed by the US Special Forces and International Coalition’s warplanes, managed to advance in areas in the city, and controlled about 55% of the area of al-Raqqa city, while about 45% of its area are still controlled by the “Islamic State” organization that seeks to repel the advancement of the SDF through deploying car bombs and large numbers of snipers, and planting intensive mines. The advancement coincides with daily bombardment on al-Raqqa city and areas held by the “Islamic State” organization where scores of thousand civilians still exist, causing human losses among civilians in al-Raqqa who became caught between the hammer of the organization and the anvil of the international coalition in light of its daily bombardment on the city, leaving in every time more martyrs and injured, and between the hammer and the anvil, there is a road planted with mines that leaves every time martyrs and injured.

The SOHR documented the death of 1455 persons, including at least 523 civilians, among them an activist from the SOHR as well as 112 children, 68 women in al-Raqqa city, who were killed and documented by the SOHR in al-Raqqa city and its countryside since the launch of the Grand Battle of al-Raqqa on the 5th of June 2017 until today August 6, 2017. The martyrs are 507 civilians including at least 109 children below the age of 18 and 64 women over the age of 18, who were killed in al-Raqqa city, as well as 16 civilians including 3 children and 4 women who were killed in raids on Zor Shamar village and another area at the southern banks of the Euphrates River in al-Raqqa eastern countryside. The aerial bombardment also caused injury of hundreds of civilians with varying degrees of severity, while some of them have amputated limbs and permanent disabilities, and some of them still in serious conditions and the death toll are suggested to increase. Scores of houses, utilities were also destroyed in the city due to the indiscriminate bombardment that targeted al-Raqqa city and its vicinity and outskirts, while more civilian martyrs were reported but the SOHR couldn’t document them.

The SOHR also documented that the international coalition airstrikes and the heavy bombardment on al-Raqqa city and its outskirts along with the military offensives in the city that included shelling,  bombings and clashes with the “Euphrates Wrath” Operations Forces, which is composed of the SYRIA DEMOCRATIC FORCES, the Syrian Elite Forces, and the US Special Forces backed by the International Coalition’s warplanes caused – since the launching of the battle until today the 6th of August – death of at least 654 members of the “Islamic State” organization including two local  figures and commanders of groups, amid confirmed information about death of other members, in addition to injuring tens of them with varying degrees of severity.

Also, the SOHR documented in the same period the death of 278 fighters of the “Euphrates Wrath” including two fighters from the Syrian Elites Forces, four fighters holding US, Georgian and British nationalities, while the rest are from the SYRIA DEMOCRATIC FORCES, whose main pillar is the YPG, and fighters of Manbij Military Council, who were killed during clashes with the “Islamic State” organization and due to bombings in al-Raqqa city and the southern banks of Euphrates River.

The SOHR published yesterday that al-Raqqa city witness lack of many food supplies and much shortage in some of them, and 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. A state of resentment also prevail among the residents of al-Raqqa city because of the daily massacre carried out by the International Coalition against the people and the displaced of the city, the state of resentment increases as the families accuse the International Coalition of targeting buildings claiming that snipers of ISIS are inside these buildings or on the top of them.