Sign In / Up

Add contribution as a guest

Your email will not be displayed publicly
Benefit of signing in/signing up to personalize comment

Comment as a guest

Your email will not be displayed publicly
Benefit of signing in/signing up to personalize comment


Not a member Register   Forgot Password
or connect using





Evacuation of local ISIS from Raqqa complete: SDF

By Rudaw 15/10/2017
Syrian civilians on Raqqa’s western front after fleeing the city centre on Thursday. Photo: Bulent Kilic/AFP
Syrian civilians on Raqqa’s western front after fleeing the city centre on Thursday. Photo: Bulent Kilic/AFP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The final group of local ISIS fighters who agreed to leave Raqqa in an evacuation deal departed Saturday night, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) confirmed. The news was followed by an announcement of the start of the final offensive to oust remaining fighters from Raqqa. 

Some foreign fighters may have also left the city under the deal, according to reports. 

“The operation has finished and the battle continues,” SDF spokesperson Mostafa Bali told Reuters. “Last night, the final batch of fighters [who agreed to leave] left the city.”

They took with them civilians as human shields, he said, adding that foreign fighters did not leave under the deal.

In an official announcement on Sunday confirming the successful evacuation of the remaining civilians and local ISIS fighters with their families, the SDF declared the start of an offensive to defeat ISIS in the remaining 10 percent of the city the militant group still controls. 

The US-led anti-ISIS Coalition, in a statement on Saturday announcing the evacuation agreement, said foreign fighters were not included in the evacuation deal that was supposed to bring civilians out of the conflict zone.

The initiative was proposed by local Arab tribal leaders in order to save civilian lives and minimize further destruction. The tribal leaders brokered the deal with Raqqa Civil Council. 

Some foreign fighters have left Raqqa under the deal however, AFP reported, citing a local official. 

"A portion of the foreigners have left," Omar Alloush, a senior member of the Raqqa Civil Council, told AFP.

On Saturday he had said, “The foreign fighters have two choices: either surrender or be taken out.”

Alloush said that as many as 500 ISIS fighters, both locals and foreigners, were still in the city as of Saturday and they were holding 400 women and children hostage in a hospital. 

The number of fighters and civilians who have left the city has not been confirmed. 

The militants were likely being taken to eastern Deir ez-Zor province where ISIS still controls territory.

In the summer, the Coalition opposed the evacuation of a reported more than 300 ISIS fighters with their families from the Syria-Lebanon border to the Middle Euphrates River Valley in southern Deir ez-Zor province.

The SDF expects to complete military operations and be in full control of Raqqa within a matter of days. 

Last updated at 12:16 pm


duroi | 15/10/2017
Bravo! Good Job. After Raqqa, if war breaks up between Kurds and Baghdad, YPG is now available to join the battle and help clean up east of Tigris southward and open a vital 30 KM wide corridor (along route 13) for Kurds to Persian Gulf and international waters (only need to get to navigable part of Tigris near Basrah). As important is capturing the midway alAmareh oilfields (less than 30 KM away from Kurdish Ilam province in Iran) with capacity of 1-2 million oil barrels per day. It will be more than enough for all Kurds in the region.

Be Part of Your Rudaw!

Share your stories, photos and videos with Rudaw, and quite possibly the world.

What You Say

K H | 1/17/2019 3:34:52 AM
How can the USA say they will protect the Kurds when, under Obama, they signed an agreement with Turkey which allowed Turkey to go on the offensive...
Gulen Turk | 1/17/2019 5:11:12 AM
they should politely ask Turkey to stop helping ISIS ...
Masrour Barzani discusses protection of Syrian Kurds with US general
| 22 hours ago | (4)
Outsider | 1/16/2019 10:22:15 PM
The best is.... UN forces to control and administer the area... insuring the rights of all ethnic groups and political views (not just YPG/PYD)......
Russian | 1/17/2019 5:08:48 AM
This guy is a perfect picture of hypocrisy , he is full of dishonesty , he is a product of a bankrupt country ....
Assad must take control of northern Syria: Russian FM
| yesterday at 01:05 | (6)
pre-Boomer Marine brat | 1/17/2019 1:24:10 AM
Trump, Pence and their political company are making the mistake of thinking of ISIS as a political-military organization which sees itself as...
Tracy | 1/17/2019 5:04:55 AM
If you want to destroy ISIS ..destroy Turkey first , Turkey is keeping ISIS alive ...God bless the USA
US stays committed to ‘destruction’ of terrorism: Pentagon
| 17 hours ago | (3)
UK | 1/17/2019 5:01:18 AM
Why ISIS is still alive ? Turkey is their main supporter ....
Sulaimani security arrest ‘dangerous’ ISIS militant
| 18 hours ago | (1)

Elsewhere on Rudaw

0.297 seconds