The UAE news website 24 reports that sources from the Syrian resistance discovered Daesh using civilians in Raqqa as human shields to deter airstrikes and slow military operations to expel Daesh from the city.
Abdelaziz al-Hamza, one of the founders of the Facebook group “Raqqa is being slaughtered silently” elaborated on how Daesh has manipulated their locations inside Raqqa to maximize civilian casualties.
“The militants of the radical group live in the same building as civilians, and in a building housing civilians it’s possible that there are two or three apartments supporting [housing] fighters for the organization,” Hamza said.
Hamza continued, “civilians are between a rock and a hard place because it isn’t possible for them to leave after Daesh forbid them to do so”, mentioning that Daesh militants are constantly posting misleading information about the severity of the situation, saying “their cities consist of paradise and that everything is going ok, but the reality is different and you see long lines of thousands of people waiting to get food from a restaurant that is not supported by the organization.”
The news of Daesh infiltrating civilian residences to protect their militants comes on the first day of the formal Iraqi military and US coalition campaign targeting the northern rural region of Raqqa. Iraqi forces previously gained control of the strategic village of al-Fatsa.
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