In Raqqa, there are many causes of death – indiscriminate airstrikes by international coalition warplanes, daily artillery shelling by Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), and ISIS mines scattered throughout the surrounding landscape.
The deepest irony lies in the fact that this city on the bank of the bountiful Euphrates River is currently dying of thirst.
For more than ten days, Raqqa has had no access to drinking water; over one hundred thousand people trapped in the city now must make the perilous journey to bring water home from the river. Doing so makes them vulnerable targets to coalition warplanes.
Since the beginning of the military operation to take Raqqa city from ISIS, approximately 27 civilians have been killed and dozens more have been wounded at the Euphrates. Yet people continue to travel there – despite the danger – since it is the only remaining source of clean drinking water.
The city that was known for its great river is dying of thirst. The city that was known for its delicious cuisine is dying of hunger. For more than twenty days, no more markets or bakeries remain open in Raqqa. People remain in the city, but real life no longer exists there.