URFA – Dozens of militants from the radical group of Islamic State (ISIS) have been killed in recent airstrikes by the international coalition’s warplanes on the northeastern Syrian province of Raqqa, informed sources reported on Wednesday.
The majority of strikes were conducted by the French air force, according to official sources. Russian fighter jets have also participated in the anti-ISIS campaign in Raqqa.
Speaking to ARA News in Raqqa, media activist Abu Taleb confirmed that at least 44 ISIS militants have been killed and dozens more injured during dense airstrikes on the group’s headquarters in less than three days.
“Several ISIS commanders have been killed in the recent attacks in Raqqa,” he added.
“The group treats its wounded members in some field hospitals, while others have been transferred to civilian’s houses for fear of being targeted in the known hospitals of the city,” Abu Taleb told ARA News.
A civil rights activist in Raqqa emphasized concerns about ISIS using civilians as human shields under the airstrikes.
“The group has previously used civilians as human shields in several areas across Syria in order to stop the progress of its enemies,” he said, on the condition of anonymity. “In the coming days, the group may oblige people to gather around its headquarters in Raqqa, in an attempt to cause as much civilian casualties as possible and claim that the coalition is killing innocent citizens.”
“The coalition should take such strategies by the radical group into consideration.”
In the meantime, several ISIS commanders started to evacuate their families from Syria’s Raqqa towards the Iraqi city of Mosul in a bid to escape the ongoing bombings, eyewitnesses told ARA News.
On the other hand, pro-ISIS activists circulated on the social media that large numbers of civilians fell under French attacks, instigating locals to support the group on ground, while many local activists denied ISIS allegations of any civilian casualties so far.
“As airstrikes hit their positions, ISIS insurgents hastily disappear hiding in civilian houses,” an eyewitness told ARA News on the condition of anonymity.
On Tuesday, 10 French jets of Rafale and Mirage 2000, dropped 16 bombs on ISIS locations in Raqqa, destroying two targets for the terror group, according to the French Ministry of Defense.
French President Francois Hollande had announced that “ISIS will face merciless war” after claiming its responsibility for Paris deadly attacks, during which at last 129 were killed and 300 more wounded.
Reporting by: Muhammad Ali
Source: ARA News
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