As the battle against ISIS in Raqqa intensifies, the strategy being used by the International Coalition and their local allies, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), is becoming clearer. Their methods rely mainly upon intensive daily aerial bombardment and artillery shelling. These practices cause dozens of civilians deaths every day, as well as contribute to a massive destruction of infrastructure, properties, residential buildings, and places of worship.
During the battle, the SDF have committed multiple violations in the newly “liberated” areas of Raqqa. These violations include heavy civilian casualties, forced displacement, and mandatory recruitment into armed service.
Raqqa now is in the same situation as it was before the current battle to “liberate” it. Raqqa continues to see daily indiscriminate shelling that causes large civilian casualties and massive destruction to the city’s infrastructure. The current battle only serves to complete the destruction started by Assad regime army and Russian warplanes in years prior.
James Mattis, the current US Secretary of Defense, said in late May that “civilian casualties are a fact of life in this sort of situation.” He then added that the US does “everything humanly possible consistent with military necessity, taking many chances to avoid civilian casualties at all costs.”
Activists from Raqqa believe that the brutal bombings and unjust killings of civilians are not accidents. Rather, satellite images reveal an extent of destruction in the city that seems to fall in line with a sinister plan America has prepared for the city.
The US administration may be taking this destructive approach to facilitate SDF’s wishes of establishing a Kurdish State in the city after ISIS’s defeat. This Kurdish establishment would then allow the US to obtain their own control in Raqqa and establish military bases in it.