08/25/2017, 09.29
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Raqqa, the UN calls for a humanitarian halt in the bombing against Isis

The United Nations humanitarian task force reports the jihadist stronghold in Syria is the "worst place on Earth". Activists talk about "deadly labyrinth" in which civilians are trapped. The call for the creation of humanitarian corridors and safe areas that favor the escape of the population.

Damascus (AsiaNews) - The UN has launched an appeal to the US-led international coalition, engaged in raids against Islamic State (IS, former Isis) targets in Raqqa, the "Caliphate" stronghold in Syria, to halt attacks to allow civilians to flee. There are at least 20,000 people – according to the UN - trapped in precarious health and safety conditions that must be able to leave the war zone without fear of US bombings that have already caused dozens of civilian casualties.

The Syrian Democratic Forces (FDS), the Arab-Kurdish alliance backed by US air raids, have already regained 60% of the territory previously in the hands of jihadist militias. Nevertheless, there are still five quarters in the hands of Isis; Inside there are tens of thousands of people who would like to attempt a desperate escape.

Jan Egeland, head of UN's humanitarian task force, is pointing to Jihadist militias who "do everything to use [civilians] as human shields." He is appealing to the international community, to work to help clear the areas under siege. For the UN expert, the so-called ISIS capital is "the worst place on earth" and many who can escape "risk [being killed] in air raids."

In a detailed report released yesterday, Amnesty International speaks of a "deadly labyrinth" in which the inhabitants of Raqqa are trapped. Civilians are being attacked on all sides, while the toll of the casualties caused by US air raids and the Arab-Kurdish coalition is steadily rising. "As the final battle in the city center approaches - says an activist - things are going to get worse." This is why it is increasingly urgent to "safeguard" the lives of those who are not directly involved in the fighting and "facilitate" the creation of corridors for a "safe passage" in a context of war and violence.

Some diplomats at the UN have called for temporary ceasefire.

Local anonymous sources in Raqqa, speak of at least a hundred civilians killed in the last 48 hours due to US air raids. Since August 14, around 170 civilians have been killed. In response, US military leaders say they take all "necessary" precautions to ward off new casualties among the population.

In addition to air raids, those still living in the Syrian capital of the "Caliphate" have to face the threat of artillery launches, missiles and rockets affecting areas with high population density. And the fate of those living in the "informal" refugee camps surrounding the city on the southern periphery of the city is no better, because they are also attacked.

Activists and human rights groups appeal to stop the use of explosive weapons in areas where civilians are concentrated.  At the same time, they want the creation of an independent and impartial inquiry commission to investigate the many victims of the conflict.

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