DAMASCUS, SYRIA (13:05) – According to the opposition-linked Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), 300 high-ranking Islamic State (ISIS) commanders and their families have fled the city of Raqqa amidst the unhindered advances of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) coalition.
The escapees were forced to use ferryboats to get across the river from Raqqa as Coalition airstrikes have destroyed all bridges across the Euphrates in Syria. While a detachment ferried for Deir Ezzor, the others fled for eastern Hama’s countryside where the group still enjoys relative stability.
As the top commanders escape Raqqa, ISIS sharia men lobbied local youth in mosques to take on arms to defend their city from the “American rapists” and “atheist Kurds”. On the other hand, 230 fighters and field commanders have arrived in the city from the eastern countryside of Aleppo and Deir Ezzor to support its defense.
It is unlikely that this minuscule number of reinforcements will change the tide of the battle against the powerful YPG-led SDF unless thousands more pour into the city to repel the anti-terrorist forces nearing the city.