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.
Raqqa (AsiaNews) – As the Iraqi army continues its advance towards Mosul rumors are also circulating that there is a secret agreement to transfer Daesh militiamen from Mosul to Syria, specifically to Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor, in Caliphate territory". A similar transfer has already taken place under the protection and with the complicity of many countries, including some which officially are fighting Daesh in Iraq, but not in Syria.
These rumors are now substantiated. An Raqqa resident has reported seeing 10 white buses followed by 12 cars, entering the city in motorcade (see photo). The white vans are the typical means of transport that the Islamic State (IS) used for operations in Mosul.
Dozens of passengers, mainly women and children, alighted form these vehicles, many speaking foreign languages and Arabic dialects that are neither Iraqi nor the Syrian. The fact that women and children were treated with great respect has made the residents of Raqqa suspect them of being family members of Isis leaders and foreign mercenaries.
The families - escorted by armed guards to ensure their protection - were accommodated in student housing in the district of Al Rumeileh.
The news quickly circulated on social media, which has overtaken traditional news agencies, sparking uproar in Iraq, among the members of the so-called "Phalange of Babylon". This is a paramilitary militia composed of Christians (Orthodox) in Mosul that fights alongside the Iraqi army and Kurdish Peshmerga to regain their lands occupied by the IS.
Some of them have expressed suspicion of Allied forces complicity in allowing Daesh fugitives, to make the journey to Raqqa. Curiously, the Western air force engaged in air raids, did not report any sightings of them and allowed them to arrive safe and sound in Raqqa.
Late yesterday an Iraqi source told the pan-Arab TV Al Mayadeen that are already 100 prominent leaders of Daesh who have fled Mosul and arrived in Raqqa with their family.
The propaganda machine of the Daesh "Caliphate" however reports the exact opposite: "the relatives of foreign Daesh leaders are fleeing Raqqa in the direction of Mosul, considered more secure." The news of the escape from Raqqah to Mosul was even declared by Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights cited by AFP, and rebroadcast by Sky 24 network in Arabic, who spoke of the arrival in Mosul from Raqqah of 70 families of Daesh leaders.
In any case, this transit between Mosul and Raqqa seems to have taken place in complete safely. It is not clear how these families are arriving from Mosul to Raqqa (or vice versa): the strategic highway Sinjar, which links Mosul to Hassakah in Syria and then to Raqqa is under the total control of the Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga.
The only other possibility is to pass further south, from Shaddadiya in Syria, or to the north, where there are Turkish troops in Baashika. Of course all these movements would be visible with satellites and from the air, where Russians, Americans, Iraqis, French aircraft patrol day and night.
Military experts say that a massive flight of Isis militiamen from Mosul to Raqqa, would transform the recapture of Mosul into a Pyrrhic victory. The military presence of Daesh on the western side of the Euphrates in Syria would allow them to take advantage of any vacuum in the future to return to Iraq, rising from the Nineveh Plain to Ramadi, Falluja and again threaten Baghdad.
The suspicion of the Iraqis is that "Daesh will only temporarily withdraw from Iraq without a landslide victory, the leaders of the Caliphate will not be captured or stopped, only to be re-used at any time by countries that already support and aid Daesh in secret."
Iraqis are convinced that after the liberation of Mosul, the Daesh leaders and fighters will not be arrested or tried for crimes against humanity of which they are guilty. They will not be subjected to interrogation to find out who their secret allies really are. (P.B.)