A Sunni Arab family that recently managed to escape from Raqqa and is staying in a refugee camp near Irbil, spoke to RIA Novosti correspondent saying that Daesh is suffering one defeat after another.
“Militants are getting really angry and can kill a man without any reason. If someone talks back to them or if they just don’t like someone, they can kill them. There is looting and robbery of property as well,” one of the family members told a RIA Novosti correspondent in an interview.
“Caliphate” Under Blockage
Iraqi and Syrian Kurds are trying to cut off Daesh from Turkey, from which the militants are getting food and weapons supplies after sending them oil and looted artifacts from historic monuments in return.
As the situation is getting tenser with the ongoing fighting in the northern territories there have been major shortages of food in Raqqa and other cities.
“Now it is not so easy to buy macaroni or even beans and no one has any money. The militants distribute food to those who work for them or are associated with them, such as officials of Daesh, the members of Sharia police, widows of killed militants and so on,” the family member explained.
According to him, the civilians of Raqqa are highly anticipating the assault on the city by the “Democratic Syrian Forces.” Already, the city is constantly being bombed by the US and French aircraft.
“They are equipping the city for an ambush. Everything indicates that they are preparing for defending the city and are not willing to give it up,” the family member said.
Raqqa Symbol and Logistics Center
After liberation of Palmyra from Daesh’s grip, the militants now have Raqqa as their only stronghold. The loss of Raqqa may cause Daesh a severe reputational blow.
Based on the ideology of Salafism, the true Caliphate should only grow exponentially. It should capture more and more cities. If that does not happen than the proclaimed caliphate by al-Baghdadi is fake. This may lead to a large number of fanatical Islamists to abandon Daesh ranks and that may eventually put an end to sponsors from Sunni countries.
Militants Weaken Control
While Daesh militants prepare to defend Raqqa, it has weakened their control of the local population. Although, officially Daesh has publicly announced that it will execute all the civilians who try to escape from Raqqa, in fact, the ban has been observed weakly.
The family who spoke to RIA correspondent managed to bypass all the checkpoints on the road from Raqqa by foot. They then found a person with a car and with some amount of money and they agreed to go to the Iraqi border.
Currently they are in a safe location. The Iraqi Kurdistan government has settled them in a refugee camp and has provided them with food and safety.
However, there are still hundreds of thousands of local residents in Raqqa. It is possible that the militants will try to use them as ‘human shields.’