The Great Battle, which was launched by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) against the ISIS gangs in Raqqa, is in its 81st day. The fighters of the SDF are conducting operations against ISIS and advancing on the northern, southern and eastern fronts.
Amid the ongoing battle, SDF fighters are also rescuing Raqqan civilians from the clutches of the ISIS gangs. The Raqqan civilians are being rescued via corridors, which have been opened on the western and eastern fronts. In a latest operation, around 50 civilians have been rescued. Special forces of the SDF freed the inhabitants of Raqqa in the Rawda neighbourhood and took them to safe areas. Among the rescued locals is also a Syriac family.
The freed citizens had been surrounded by ISIS gangs and remained trapped days long together with children, the elders, women and youngsters inside of their houses, as they were not able to set a foot out of their homes. For days these people were left in their homes without any water and food. The SDF fighters also rescued a Syriac family and took them to a safe place under their control.
FROM ALEPPO TO RAQQA
The eldest of the Syriac family George Joseph (45), his wife, daughter, sister and her daughter have been transferred to a safe area by the SDF fighters. Congratulating his family’s freedom with a victory sign, Joseph said they were one of the last Syriac families left under ISIS occupation in Raqqa.
Joseph’s family is originally from the Syriac community in Aleppo and migrated to Raqqa years ago. They were living under the occupation of ISIS for the past 5 years.
“THEY SLAUGHTERED THE PEOPLES”
Joseph stated that aside from Arabs there are also Syriacs, Christians, Kurds and Armenians living in Raqqa and said: "Following the attacks of ISIS a large number of Raqqa's inhabitants were forced to flee their homes, just like several people from my family and relatives. ISIS killed many from all peoples that did not act as they wanted.”
Joseph told that the ISIS gangs used to plunder the possessions and belongings of the inhabitants under the pretext of taxes, adding: "They took all our belongings from us. We tried to get out of the city before the Raqqa operation began, but ISIS did not allow it."
“THEY TURNED CHURCHES INTO MILITARY HEADQUARTERS”
Joseph pointed out that the ISIS gangs occupied the churches after invading the city and turned these into military headquarters for themselves, adding: "They banned us from going to church. They seized all the churches and used them for themselves. Even now the churches are used as military headquarters. They tried to destroy everything we had, and they managed it to a large extent. We tried hard to escape their clutches but they constantly barred us, not allowing us to get out of our homes even. Those who got out were targeted by either their mines or snipers.”