Foreign IS militants still inside Syria's Raqqa: report

Source: Xinhua| 2017-10-15 02:01:00|Editor: yan
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DAMASCUS, Oct. 14 (Xinhua) -- Foreign fighters of the Islamic State (IS) group are still inside Syria's northern city of Raqqa, a monitor group reported on Saturday.

What hindered the transfer or surrender of the foreign militants is the opposition of the Western countries, mainly the United States and France, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

It was believed that one of the foreign IS fighters inside the city was the mastermind behind the terror attacks in Paris, according to the Observatory.

Meanwhile, the U.S.-led anti-terror coalition reportedly said that a convoy of IS militants would leave Raqqa on Saturday, as part of a deal reached by "local officials."

The coalition said earlier that 100 IS militants had left Raqqa to an undisclosed destination.

A day earlier, Al-Arabyia TV said Raqqa, the de facto capital of IS, was empty of IS militants following a deal for their surrender with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance of Kurds, Arabs and Assyrians led by the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) and supported by the U.S.-led coalition.

Meanwhile, the SDF said in a short statement Saturday that its fighters had controlled over 95 percent of the city.

The SDF said that "a few days are remaining until Raqqa completely get rid of the cancer of IS."

The SDF also posted a video showing civilians fleeing the IS-controlled areas in Raqqa towards the areas recently captured by the SDF.

The coalition estimated that around 4,000 civilians were still being held by the IS as human shields in Raqqa.

IS militants declared Raqqa as their capital in 2014, after announcing their self-styled caliphate.

Tens of civilians have died during the intense battles as well as in the airstrikes of the U.S.-led anti-terror coalition.

On Sept. 7, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said as many as 978 civilians had been killed in three months by the U.S.-led airstrike and the shelling on Raqqa.