Raqqa: Airstrikes if you stay, land mines if you flee

Memet Uludag writes: As Isis face defeat in Raqqa the civilian population continue to pay the price in the fighting between the US led coalition and Isis.  

Socialist Worker

Raqqa: Airstrikes if you stay, land mines if you flee


More than 25,000 civilians are trapped in the city facing daily intensive US airstrikes plus  land mines and bombs set by ISIS. Furthermore, according to local observers Isis is using civilians as a shield against the airstrikes.

As the fighting intensifies between Isis and Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) – a US supported a group predominantly composed of Kurdish PYD fighters – more civilians are caught in-between.

According to the Syrian Observatory, an estimated 800 people have been killed since the United States-led coalition began its assault on the city in June,. 150 in August alone according to the United Nations.

Members of Isis are executing civilians on a daily basis and those who flee face snipers, and deadly land mines set by Isis.

The city infrastructure is destroyed beyond repair. Hundreds of thousands of refugees who flee Raqqa will not be returning to just an Isis-free city but also to a destroyed one. Turkey-based Raqqa activist, Sunbhi Sukkar, estimated that the US-led bombing and shelling had destroyed at least 40 per cent of the city’s neighbourhoods!

Fares al Ali of the Istanbul based Syrian Opposition Coalition said 19 Raqqa neighbourhoods had been bombed and shelled, and the destruction level in some locations, such as Al Rumanya, may be as much as 80 per cent.

Raqqa is another example of destruction by imperialist intervention. In Syria, global imperialist powers such as the US, Russia, Britain, France etc, and the regional powers such as Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia did not intervene to help and support the people’s uprising but to extend their own power. Isis is a sectarian reactionary product of the disastrous US led invasion of Iraq in 2003. It has exploited the chaos created in Iraq and Syria by the Iraq War and the by  brutal attacks by the Assad regime.

All of these forces have collectively choked the Syrian revolution which was not only fighting the brutal regime of Assad but also the like of Isis. They have murdered hundreds of thousands of civilians and created more than 10 million internally and externally displaced refugees.

Today, many of the western powers who support the war efforts in Syria have shut-down their borders to fleeing refugees. It is utter  hypocrisy to claim to ‘liberate’ people and at the same time condemn the refugees to death.

The madness in Syria has to stop. All foreign armies and forces must leave Syria. The only solution to Syria is the re-emergence of popular people power and revolt that rejects sectarianism, all imperialist interventions and builds a country free of dictator Assad’s oppression and brutality. Such re-emergence is not only prevented by Isis’s attacks but also by the destruction and mass killings caused by foreign intervention.

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