Abdalaziz Alhamza “RBSS”
The International Coalition has taken recently a new strategy in fighting ISIS based on targeting the cities’ infrastructure and public facilities; this was after an air campaign that targeted the group’s headquarters and main sites.
The International Coalition has started this new policy with the start of the military campaign (Euphrates Shield) which is launched by the Syrian Democratic Forces in order to control over Raqqa countryside and besiege the city. This is obvious after targeting the cities’ bridges last night and totally isolating the city.
War planes launched several airstrikes and targeted the two bridges that link the city of Raqqa with the southern side of the river. The two bridges are completely out of service, they were the lifeblood of the city’s eastern and western countryside.
It seems like the International Coalition is trying to prevent the people of Raqqa from crossing to the southern coast of the river, so in order to flee out of the city, people had only one direction which is toward the Syrian democratic Forces who are only 20 kilometers far from the city. This is all just to make the image of these troops better in the local community and to make them look like liberators, several photos have been published for local people welcoming these troops they were all taken by force.
Activists and residents indicated that the strategy of targeting the city’s infrastructure is detrimental to the civilian everyday life; it does not harm ISIS at all because this targeting has paralyzed the movement of the civilians not the group’s fighters because fighters have their own ways to cross the river like in Der ez Zor where they are using boats which are expensive and not every civilian can afford.
The International Coalition has destroyed some small bridges in the city’s countryside, such as Salhabiea, Al Ansar, Galta, Abbara and the military bridges. The Euphrates Dam, 50 kilometers far from Raqqa, is the only bridge lift in Raqqa province.
The New Bridge in Raqqa city was built in sixties with a length of approximately 500 meters and a width of 16 meters with four car lanes and two walking paths, whereas the Old Bridge was built during the French Occupation in the thirties with a width of 10 meters along with holding drinking water pipes. These two bridges are southern Raqqa and the distance between them is approximately 5 kilometers.