At least 45 civilians have been killed in airstrikes carried out by a U.S.-led coalition and attacks by the PYD/PKK terrorist group in Syria’s northern city of Raqqah, Anadolu reported.
Raqqah locals told Anadolu Agency that the city's western Mashlab district had been hit Thursday by more than 20 coalition airstrikes in which white phosphorus was used.
Meanwhile, the PYD/PKK terrorist group, fighting under the banner of the so-called “Syrian Democratic Forces” (SDF), has been shelling Raqqah’s city center -- with coalition air support -- for the last two days.
The PYD/PKK currently controls Raqqah’s 17th Unit area and now surrounds the Daesh-held city from the north, northeast and northwest.
Civilians, meanwhile, have been fleeing Raqqah to northern areas held by the PYD/PKK. But the terrorist group has reportedly placed fleeing civilians in camps and is barring them from accessing residential areas in Al-Hasakah and Qamishli.
“They [PYD/PKK terrorists] are demanding 200,000 Syrian lira [roughly $380] in exchange for letting us leave the camp,” one civilian from Raqqah -- now staying at the Recim Silibi camp in Al-Hasakah’s countryside -- told Anadolu Agency, requesting anonymity due to fears for his safety.
“They don’t let us leave the camp to look for bread,” he said, noting that most civilians now staying at the camp were women and children.
According to one Anadolu Agency correspondent in Al-Hasakah, dozens of families who were able to reach Al-Hasakah or Qamishli had been turned back to the Recim Silibi camp.
Ahmed Abu Ibrahim, a civilian who managed to escape Raqqah to the nearby city of Jarabulus, told Anadolu Agency that coalition warplanes were striking “any vehicle that moves in and around Raqqah”.
“Civilians are paying the price for this war,” he lamented.
“The PYD didn’t let us into its territory because we didn’t have a reference,” he asserted, saying the people of Raqqah had first suffered under Daesh but were now suffering under intense coalition airstrikes and the PYD/PKK.
On June 6, the U.S.-led coalition announced the launch of a military campaign aimed at retaking Raqqah from the Daesh terrorist group.