20 January 2018
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  • » 10/17/2017, 09.29

    SYRIA

    Arab-Kurdish coalition takes infamous Raqqa square used for executions



    Decapitated and crucified bodies remained hanging on poles or from lanterns for days. The offensive of Syrian Democratic Forces (Fsd) continues in the "capital" of the Caliphate. Currently, jihadists still control 10% of the territory, including the main hospital and the stadium. The structure is used as prison and weapon storage. Highly symbolic victory for coalition.

    Damascus (AsiaNews / Agencies) - US-backed Arab-Kurdish forces are locked in the final battle against Islamic State militias (IS, formerly Isis) for the conquest of Raqqa, long considered the capital of the "Caliphate" in Syria. In the context of the offensive, troops have wrested the infamous public square where extremists executed people by crucifixion and decapitation. Official sources of the coalition report that the fall of the city "is a matter of days".

    Mustafa Bali, the spokesman for the Syrian Democratic Forces (FDS), points out that clashes in Al-Naim Square (Paradise Square) had been ongoing since October 15th, with jihadist militias engaged in an attempt to repel the offensive. The provisional toll speaks of nine ISIS fighters and 12 others killed who surrendered after handing over control of the area. For many, this is the "crucial" moment of the operation "Wrath of the Euphrates".

    Paradise Square has long been the symbol of the reign of jihadist terror. After proclaiming the "Caliphate" in Raqqa, militants used the central square as the scene of their macabre executions, forcing the same population to assist through public announcements on megaphones and loud speakers.

    Decapitated bodies and crucified corpses were left hanging for days in the area, on posts and lanterns. Each body bore a sign announcing their "crime". Often, among these so-called crimes was smoking, attending a ball game, or listening to music.

    A high-ranking Kurdish commander points out that so far, the FDS troops have not yet completed a comprehensive survey in the area to see what has remained of the jihadist madness. However, he speaks of "symbolic" capture because it "breaks" their dreams of conquest and has  "driven them out of the heart of their kingdom."

    At present Isis still controls about 10% of Raqqa, including the main hospital and the stadium, which is not far from the square. The sports facility is still be used by the remaining militiamen - 275 in all, according to the latest information - as a prison and arms depot.

    Local activists and witnesses report that militants who have been surrendered have been locked in prisons controlled by Arab-Kurdish forces in the nearby town Tabqa. They are first questioned, then postponed to trial. Many of the jihadists still at large and committed to fighting are believed to be foreigners. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, these include the "mastermind" of the attacks in France that have caused dozens of deaths and injuries, a French (or Belgian) citizen of North African origin. 

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    See also

    07/11/2017 10:03:00 SYRIA
    Hundreds of families return to Raqqa after the expulsion of Isis

    Returns to the former jihadist stronghold in Syria have begun. The first phase concerns the eastern district of Al-Meshleb, cleansed of explosives left by the militiamen. Land reclamation work continues. In recent days, several civilian deaths due to detonation of mines.



    23/10/2017 10:31:00 SYRIA - RUSSIA - USA
    Moscow: The US campaign against Isis has erased Raqqa 'from the face of the earth'

    The Syrian city suffered the same fate as Dresden at the end of World War II. UN investigation speaks of "shocking loss" of human lives among civilians. Washington replies: risk of collateral damage minimized. At least 270,000 displaced people, it will take months for their return.



    19/06/2017 10:01:00 SYRIA - USA
    Raqqa:US Air force shoots down a Syrian jet, pilot missing

    The jet was engaged on a mission against the Islamic State. Damascus speaks of "gross attack". According to Washington, it hit soldiers of the US-backed Arab-Kurd coalition. Joint exercises between Iran and China in the Persian Gulf.

     



    09/03/2017 14:40:00 SYRIA – UNITED STATES
    Marines in Syria for the assault against Raqqa

    US troops plan to help the Kurdish-Arab Syrian Democratic Forces. Their deployment has not been authorised by Syria’s Assad, but certainly received Russia’s green light.



    20/10/2016 09:50:00 IRAQ - SYRIA
    Families of Mosul Isis leaders reach Raqqa in Syria. Doubts over who is helping them

    The families of dozens of leaders of the Caliphate were transported on board buses to Raqqa without running into roadblocks, or being discovered by the Allies inspection flights. Suspicions that they are being aided by Turkey and the US. Iraqis think that the victory of Mosul will be "a Pyrrhic victory": the leaders will not be caught, or questioned, and no one will ever know who their secret allies are.

     





    Editor's choices

    EGYPT – LEBANON
    Muslims and Christians meet in Cairo for Jerusalem, 'the cause of causes'

    Fady Noun

    A conference was held on 16-17 January at al-Azhar. Many prominent figures from Lebanon took part, including the Maronite Patriarch Bechara Al-Rahi. The Arab world is divided between "complicit passivity" and "noisy but ineffective speeches". For a former Lebanese premier, coordinated actions are needed to ensure greater efficacy on behalf of Jerusalem’s "pluralistic identity " and "religious freedom". Card Al-Rahi called for joint prayers, Islamic-Christian interfaith solidarity in the Arab world, and support for the Palestinians.


    CHINA
    Yunnan: Christians accused of membership in an apocalyptic sect get up to 13 years in prison



    The Three Grades of Servants cult, an underground pseudo-Protestant sect founded in Henan, is especially strong in the countryside. Those convicted claim they are just ordinary Christians and know nothing about the sect. Defense lawyers have been threatened with loss of their license to practice.


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