RAQQA, SYRIA (June 15, 2017) – Due to the dramatic conditions in Raqqa, more and more families are trying to escape to Ain Issa. Ain Issa is a city in northern Syria which is controlled by the SDF. Children and their families sit in the trap because the fighters of the so-called Islamic State shoot at the refugees. It is mainly children who suffer particularly from the conflict. According to UN, more than 40.000 children are at risk of death in Raqqa.
The decisive offensive for the expulsion of the ISIS from its Syrian stronghold Raqqa had begun last week. The US-backed units of the “Syrian Democratic Forces” (SDF), headed by the Kurdish militia YPG, are fighting on the front line. The fighters are supported by air raids by the US Airforce.
The battle for Raqqa
“The struggle for Raqqa will be fierce because the Daesh fighters will die to defend their so-called capital,” said the spokesman of the anti-ISIS alliance SDF.
ISIS fighters had expelled the rebels from Raqqa in 2014 and put the city in northern Syria under their control. Since November, SDF units have tried to encircle the city with the support of the US military. Now the Islamic State is increasingly under military pressure.
Advances towards Raqqa
In recent weeks, the SDF has conquered hundreds of square kilometers around Raqqa and isolate the city further. The battle will take a long time, because the IS fighters will not leave Raqqa so quickly. Despite the intensive attacks by the SDF, the majority of the city is under the control of the ISIS.
There have been reports from the Russian side in the last week: “US allies had made an agreement with ISIS so that the extremists can withdraw to Palmyra.” These reports of a possible stop of the anti-ISIS offensive turned out to be fake news of the Kremlin propaganda.
The anti-ISIS coalition SDF denied the Russian assertion: “There is no agreement between SDF and ISIS. There will also be no agreement in the future. Our goal is to eliminate extremists from these areas and liberate the population of Raqqa. “
Why does Russia spread false reports about the US and its allies in the fight against ISIS?
Experts claim that there are two reasons for this act of Russia:
- Russia wants to represent the US as a supporter of ISIS and Al-Qaeda in Syria.
- Russia wanted to participate in the Raqqa offensive along with the SDF, thereby expanding its military power in Syria. The SDF however has rejected a participation of Russia. The attacks on the US partner SDF could thus be an expression of dissatisfaction.