Civilians evacuate Syria’s Raqqa before anti-ISIS international operations start

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Civilians evacuating the Syrian city of Raqqa. Activists

ARA News

Urfa, Turkey Following the announcement of the establishment of an international coalition to hit extremists of the Islamic State (IS/ISIL) –an al-Qaeda offshoot– in Syria and Iraq, residents of the IS-held Syrian northern city of Raqqa started to evacuate the city.

Speaking to ARA News in Raqqa, civil activist Suher Kh. said: “Dozens of vehicles are transporting civilians from the city to the Turkish borders through the town of Maree in Aleppo province, north of Syria.”

Suher pointed out that IS militants tried to prevent the residents’ evacuation by blocking the main exists of Raqqa city.

“Now all you can see in Raqqa are empty streets and closed shops,” Suher said.

According to a shopkeeper in Raqqa, villagers from the countryside began to buy large amounts of food and stockpiling it as a precaution in the event an emergency prevented their return, especially following the regime’s intensive air raids against civilians and the approaching U.S.-led air strikes against IS headquarters in the city.

On the other hand, activist Jamil Y. told ARA News that militants of IS are currently evacuating their strongholds in Raqqa city and moving munitions out, “heading to Deir ez-Zor province in northeastern Syria”.

Meanwhile, activists in Deir ez-Zor province reported on Saturday that IS group abducted nine civilians from the town of Sukariya in the countryside of al-Bukamal (Abu Kamal).

“The abduction of the nine men followed an attack by unknown gunmen against a group of IS militants in the town (Sukariya),” activists told ARA News.

On Friday, militant fighters of IS (ISIS/ISIL) reportedly beheaded a 30-year-old man in public in the city of al-Mayadin in northeastern Syria, on charges of cooperation with Syrian opposition fighters against the Islamic State.

 

Reporting by: Redwan Bizar

Source: ARA News

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