As the battle for Raqqa intensifies between ISIS and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on the ground, civilians both within the city and just outside are living in extremely difficult conditions.
Those still in the city are being harassed by ISIS militants indiscriminately. As ISIS loses ground against the SDF, the terrorist group is arbitrarily killing civilians and treating them in a violent manner.
The conditions in the city are exacerbating problems as medical services and food supplies are in shortage. A food blockade was imposed a number of days ago and the prices of basic foods have soared. In addition, electricity and water are being cut off intermittently.
Due to the extremely precarious security situation in the city, civilians rarely leave their houses without a weapon.
Thousands of civilians have fled to camps set up around the city, the most prominent of which is Ein Issa camp. These safe zones are areas that have been taken over by the SDF. Nevertheless, taking aid to those in need is a task that poses daunting challenges to aid organisations.
Clashes in Raqqa are continuing as the SDF continue to push against ISIS positions from the west of the city, reportedly taking control of almost 60% of the Hattin District. They have begun to clean up the main roads in the Sabahiya & Romaniah districts to facilitate the movement of people to safe areas. The SDF have also made gains on the southern outskirts. Thus far, they have captured Kasrat Sheikh Jum’a and the surrounding areas, including Kasrat Faraj.
The operations to capture Raqqa from ISIS hands under Operation Wrath of Euphrates were launched by the SDF in November 2016 and have now entered its final stage. The government-led Syrian Arab Army (SAA) is a separate force fighting against ISIS, which it also attempts to make gains in the city.