Deir ez-Zor activists say thousands of civilians trapped

90% of Raqqa has been taken back from ISIS

20 September, 20:58

    A recent view of the city of Deir ez-Zor, Syria A recent view of the city of Deir ez-Zor, Syria

    BEIRUT - Tens of thousands of civilians are trapped in the eastern area of eastern Syria's Deir ez-Zor, the last ISIS-controlled urban stronghold in the Middle East, local activists in the city and others in contact with family there told ANSA.

    "Civilians are trapped under incessant Russian airstrikes; foreign ISIS directors use Syrian manpower as meat for slaughter," said Omar Abu Layla, reached by Skype.

    Deir ez-Zor has for days been the centre of a Russian-Iranian-Syrian government offensive and the advance of US-backed Kurdish troops.

    Meanwhile, 90% of Raqqa, considered the "capital" of ISIS in Syria, has been taken by majority Kurdish forces backed by the United States, according to Lebanese media citing the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR).

    SOHR said combat as well as US-led coalition airstrikes continue in the city's centre and northeast.

    Heavy bombing by the US-led coalition forced ISIS jihadists to retreat to five zones in the past 48 hours, said SOHR director Rami Adbel Rahman.

    That allowed the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to take control of 90% of the city.

    ISIS militants were forced to abandon the entire northern area of Raqqa and are now confined to a limited area in the centre. 

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