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Syrian Army Opens up Safe Humanitarian Corridors in Raqqa

23 July 2017 17:30

 

The Syrian army has established four humanitarian corridors for civilians to leave Raqqa city that is the scene of tough battle between the ISIL and the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic forces, while it is under the heavy bombing of the US army aircraft, a military source confirmed Sunday.

The source said that the army troops have opened up four safe corridors in the last two days for the transfer of people in Raqqa city to the government-controlled regions.

The source further said that ISIL has been using civilians as human shield, adding that the ISIL has also planted a large number of landmines and bombs along the roads to the regions that are under the army control to prevent people from leaving Raqqa.

The source pointed out that a large number of women, children and elderly have left Raqqa for Syrian Army positions and have been resided in temporary camps.

Relevant reports said on Saturday that a large number of civilians fled their homes in Raqqa to escape the ISIL as well as the growing civilian casualties of the US airstrikes on the terrorist group’s pseudo-state’s Syrian capital.

As the US-backed Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces of the Euphrates Rage Operation continued the bloody offensive on ISIL in Raqqa, the US-led coalition’s increasing air raids led to a growing number of civilian casualties.

Now local sources said that the heavy bombardments by the coalition and ISIL’s attacks caused civilians to escape the city in groups.

“Houses, families, children, women, all are hit in random strikes,” a man said.

Another civilian recounted how he had returned to his home one morning to find 12 people dead and then buried them, adding that “there is a massacre at every village, there is no exception for that, massacres took place in all of them”.

According to reports, US-led coalition air strikes have killed hundreds of civilians in Syria. The air raids have resulted not only in staggering loss of civilian life, but also have led to tens of thousands of civilians fleeing their homes and becoming internally displaced.

Meanwhile, United Nations war crimes investigators has reported that the US-led coalition’s aerial back up for the Kurdish forces to take control of Raqqa from ISIL have thus far killed hundreds of civilians and displaced tens of thousands more.

The UN investigators said that intensified US-led coalition air raids on ISIL’s strongholds in Raqqa are causing a “staggering loss of civilian life”.

Paulo Pinheiro, chairman of the UN Commission of Inquiry, said that intensified coalition airstrikes have killed at least 300 civilians in the Syrian Northern city of Raqqa since March.

He added that “we note in particular that the intensification of air strikes, which have paved the ground for an SDF advance in Raqqa, have resulted not only in staggering loss of civilian life, but also led to 160,000 civilians fleeing their homes and becoming internally displaced.”

Lama Fakih, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch (HRW) said that “the battle for Raqqa is not just about defeating ISIS (ISIL or Daesh), but also about protecting and assisting the civilians who have suffered under ISIL rule for three and a half years.”

“Coalition members and local forces should demonstrate concretely that the lives and rights of hundreds of thousands of civilians in Raqqa are a parallel priority in the offensive,” Fakih added.

Pentagon chief James Mattis has recently said that the US is “accelerating the tempo” of the fight against ISIL, and that civilian deaths should be anticipated as a “fact of life”.

The comments came after new figures from war monitor the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights found that the last four-week period was the deadliest for Syrian civilians on record since the US-led coalition bombing campaign began in 2014.

Based on reports, since the first days of 2017 hundreds of civilians have been killed in the US-led coalition’s airstrikes in Syria and Iraq.

The SDF started military Operations codenamed ‘Euphrates Rage’ to liberate Raqqa from the ISIL hands in November 2016, as the US has sent tens of trucks full of light and semi-heavy weapons to the Syrian Democratic Forces.

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