Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

2017-08-21 22:21 MEDIA WATCH

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Nigeria's Buhari slams divisions after a 3-month absence

Read more

THE DEBATE

What's next for the "Islamic State Group"?

Read more

ENCORE!

Opera singers Thomas Hampson & Luca Pisaroni return to Paris

Read more

FOCUS

Hunger has forced many Nigerian refugees in northern Cameroon to return to dangerous Boko Haram territory.

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

US investigating China's intellectual property policy

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Bonnie Tyler to sing 'Total Eclipse of the Heart' during total solar eclipse

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Fighting back: How can Europe protect citizens from 'soft target' terrorism?

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Kenya’s opposition files a petition against presidential vote

Read more

Middle East

MSF says 10,000 Syrians flee Raqqa as battle for the city nears

© Mohammed Abdul Aziz, AFP | An opposition fighter walks near a vehicle flying an IS group flag in the northern Syrian city of Raqqa on October 6, 2013.

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2017-06-01

About 10,000 civilians have fled to a camp just north of Islamic State’s bastion of Raqqa with hundreds more arriving each day as the battle for the city nears, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said on Thursday.

Residents are escaping Raqqa under cover of night as U.S.-backed forces close in, taking their chances against minefields and hostile fighters rather than risking death in a major battle expected to begin soon.

“It is not a massive exodus, but about 800 people a day are arriving in Ain Issa every day,” Natalie Roberts, an emergency doctor from MSF France who had just returned from the region, told reporters.

The camp in Ain Issa village is run by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, which is made up predominantly of Kurdish fighters, who have now arrived to within 3 km (2 miles) of Raqqa and plan to press on with the assault on Islamic State.

The SDF had planned to make the camp a transit point for civilians. But the need to register each person and with many not having an alternative destination to travel to, the camp has expanded to beyond its 6,000-person capacity, Roberts said.

Conditions have deteriorated especially due to the summer heat. The United Nations and other aid groups have yet to establish themselves in the zone, she said.

MSF is providing basic care including vaccinations, maternity care and treatment of chronic conditions. People with war wounds, mostly caused by mines, are being sent to three MSF hospitals further north.

It is unclear how many people remain in Raqqa, Islamic State’s Syrian base of operations for more than three years and a major symbol of the cross-border “caliphate” in Iraq and Syria. The city’s population was estimated at 200,000 before the recent departures.

Roberts said that coalition bombing in Raqqa had appeared to be well targeted so far, but that the city’s hospitals would not be equipped to handle the sort of injuries resulting from an intensification.

(REUTERS)

Date created : 2017-06-01

  • SYRIA

    US begins arming Kurdish forces fighting to retake Raqqa

    Read more

  • USA - SYRIA

    US-led air strike kills dozens of civilians in Syria, says monitor

    Read more

  • SYRIA

    Assad regime regains total control of Syrian city of Homs

    Read more

COMMENT(S)