Agreement between the Coalition and the “Islamic State” organization to get the last members and civilians out of Al-Raqqah center, a European intelligence’s rejection delays it
About 3250 civilians and fighters were killed in about 125 days of shelling and clash of control of the stronghold of the “Islamic State” organization in Syria
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights obtained information from several reliable sources, who reported to the Observatory that negotiations are taking place between the remaining members of the “Islamic State” organization and their leaders in Al-Raqqah city, and between forces of the International Coalition and the Syria Democratic Forces, but the negotiations have not ended yet, in order to get the remaining members and other civilians in the center of Al-Raqqah city to the eastern countryside of Deir Ezzor, and the sources confirmed to the Syrian Observatory that the agreement was delayed due to the rejection of an international intelligence agency of a European country, the negotiations between both parties coincide with the arrival of buses at the eastern outskirts of Al-Raqqah city and to the north of the city, in preparation to transfer of the remaining members of the organization and civilians wishing to get out of the city in case an agreement was reached.
The agreement also came with the increased pace of the sweep operation over the past few days in Al-Raqqah city, which used to be the stronghold of the “Islamic State” organization, where the Syria Democratic Forces and the International Coalition forces have intensified their sweep operation in the city, along with preparations for announcing Al-Raqqah city as ISIS-free, after about 20 days of besieging the “Islamic State” organization in a narrow circle which is no more than 2 km² in the center of Al-Raqqah city, since the 21st of September 2017, and if the agreement ends and the organization’s members get out of the city, then the “Islamic State” organization loses its full presence in Al-Raqqah province, after being expelled in the past weeks and months by the regime forces and militiamen loyal to them from the western and southwestern countryside of Al-Raqqah as well as the eastern and southern countryside, in addition to ending the organization’s existence in the entire north of Euphrates by the Syria Democratic Forces supported by the International Coalition, and from Al-Tabaqa area in the southern banks of the river until the eastern area of al-Ekirshi east of Al-Raqqah.
The intensity of mines planted by the “Islamic State” organization hampered the Syria Democratic Forces from quickly ending the sweep operations, also the widespread destruction of more than 80% of Al-Raqqah city impedes the forces from reaching all the streets and places in the city, which led to the postponement of announcing the full control of the city until completing the sweep operations in the city, and controlling the narrow spot where members of the organization may still hiding in.
The airstrikes of the International Coalition continue to take place every now and then on the neighborhoods of Al-Raqqah have killed more civilians in the city, where it rose to 1130 citizens including an activist in the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, 270 children and 198 citizen women, they were killed in Al-Raqqah city and its countryside since the 5th of June 2017 until the 10th of October 2017, and the casualties are 1114 citizens including 267 children at least under the age of eighteen and 194 citizen women over the age of eighteen, they were killed in Al-Raqqah city, in addition to 16 citizens including 3 children and 4 citizen women were killed by raids on Zor Shammar village and another area on the southern banks of the Euphrates River in the eastern countryside of Al-Raqqah, the air strikes also resulted in the injury of hundreds of citizens with varying degrees of severity, some of them have amputated limbs and permanent disabilities, while some of the injuries are still in serious cases, which may lead to the increase of the number of casualties, while dozens of houses and service facilities were destroyed in the city, as a result of this intensive bombing, which targeted Al-Raqqah city and its vicinity and outskirts.
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 start of the grand battle of Al-Raqqah until the 10th of October 2017 the death of at least 1338 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 624 fighters of the “Euphrates Wrath” including 2 fighters from the Syrian Elites Forces, a Syriac Security Force fighter, 5 fighters of American, Georgian, British and Turkish nationalities, while the rest of them are from the Syria Democratic Forces, whose main pillar is the YPG, and fighters of Manbij Military Council, who were killed during clashes against the “Islamic State” organization and due to bombings in al-Raqqa city and the southern banks of Euphrates River.
Also the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights documented the death of at least 156 civilians including 36 child and 10 citizen women in mine explosions while they were trying to get out of areas controlled by the “Islamic State” organization in Al-Raqqah city, to areas controlled by the SDF since the 5th of June 2017 until the 10th of October 2017, in addition to the injury of tens of other civilians, with varying degrees of severity and permanent disability.