Jihadis face bloodbath in Raqqa – envoy
AS US-BACKED Syrian coalition forces surge ahead with retaking the Syrian city of Raqqa from Islamic State (IS) militants, the US-coalition envoy has warned that the battle will be a bloodbath – for IS.
“The mission is to make sure that any foreign fighter who is here, who joined IS from a foreign country, who came into Syria, they will die here in Syria,” Brett McGurk, US President Donald Trump’s special envoy to the fight against IS, told journalist Jenan Moussa for the Dubai-based Arabic News channel Al Aan TV.
“If they are in Raqqa they are going to die in Raqqa,” McGurk told Moussa in the offices of the Raqqa Civil Council, set to take over the running of Raqqa once IS is defeated – in the northern Syrian city of Ain Issa, about 48km north of Raqqa.
McGurk’s comments come in the wake of media reports of IS viciously turning on dissenters by using spies to report on suspected enemies in their ranks, according to the wives of three Tunisian IS members who fled Raqqa.
The women detailed how IS leaders had fled Raqqa as pressure mounted from the US-backed campaign, and separate offensives by Turkey-backed rebels and Russian-backed government forces.
One said ordinary fighters had been left behind to die like “sheep”. Their accounts outlined growing dissent within the ultra-hardline group in northern Syria in recent months.
The UN has voiced grave concern over the fate of as many as 100 000 civilians “effectively trapped” in the Raqqa governorate amid the ongoing offensive against IS fighters.
Syrian Democratic Forces fighters injured by a mortar round fired by IS rebels wait to be treated in a field hospital in Raqqa.