Syria Crisis: Ar-Raqqa Situation Report No. 8 (as of 10 June 2017) [EN/AR]
• Since 6 June when the SDF announced the launch of its military operations to gain control of Ar-Raqqa city, it has rapidly gained full control over several neighborhoods in the city.
• The offensive started in the semi-urban and urban areas to the east of Ar-Raqqa city during this reporting period triggered serious concerns for the protection of the civilian population, amidst intensification of air operations and shelling and in the expected intensification of urban warfare.
• Despite reported attempts by ISIL to prevent civilians from fleeing the city, an estimated 10,000 residents of Ar-Raqqa city have managed to leave the city since 6 June via the river, damaged bridges and land routes.
• Ongoing military operations have displaced over 100,000 people from May till 5 June.
• Humanitarian actors continue to respond to the affected population and provided, for example, food assistance to 19,126 people and nutrition assistance to 1,000 children between 1-7 June.
• WHO has confirmed the outbreak of circulating Vaccine Derived Poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2) in Deir-ez-Zor and is coordinating a response with relevant health partners.
people displaced from 1 April – 5 June (101,921 during May – 5 June)
people reached with food assistance from 1 -7 June
Over 1 m
litres of water are being provided daily across Ar-Raqqa governorate
children reached with nutrition assistance between 1 -7 June
On 6 June, the SDF announced the launch of its military operations to gain control of Ar-Raqqa city, and rapidly gained full control over several neighborhoods in Al- Mashlab, eastern Ar-Raqqa city. On 6 June, airstrikes on Al-Mashlab neighbourhood (eastern Ar-Raqqa city) allegedly hit a school, causing severe damage to the infrastructure and rendering it inoperable. On 8 June, local media reported that multiple airstrikes struck several neighbourhoods in Ar-Raqqa city, resulting in an unknown number of casualties. Multiple airstrikes were reported on several locations in the city, including the Al-Razi school, Amar Bin Yaser School, Al-Hussein Mosque, Popular Credit Bank, the College of Engineering and the Immigration and Passport department, and also impacted the Department of Electricity.
Inside Ar-Raqqa city, the water supply has been cut for the past ten days, following a defect at the pumping station, a general lack of electricity and a lack of diesel to operate generators. Residents of Ar-Raqqa currently depend on trucked water, which is unfit for consumption as it originates from the Euphrates river. There are only nine doctors remaining inside Ar-Raqqa city, and key medicines are no longer available.
The humanitarian situation in Ar-Raqqa city remains dire with reports of fuel and food commodities becoming scarce
Most bakeries went out of service as they lack flour and diesel. In addition, mobile communication has been severed as the communication services building was allegedly destroyed by airstrikes, and ISIL has reportedly banned internet cafes services. Residents continue to flee the city via the river, damaged bridges and land routes, although ISIL has been reportedly preventing civilians from leaving. On 5 June, airstrikes reportedly hit a boat, allegedly carrying civilians from the northern to the southern bank of the Euphrates River which is reported to have resulted in nine casualties, and the injury of at least ten others. Obtaining verified information from Ar-Raqqa city remains challenging due to insecurity, heavy fighting and access constraints
IDPs newly arriving to Ein Issa Camp report challenges in fleeing Ar-Raqqa city due to the presence of UXOs on exit routes, fear of retaliation from ISIL, and a general lack of resources. Male IDPs between the ages of 18-40 years are noticeably underrepresented at IDP camps, reportedly due to fear of forced military conscription, fear of arrest and detention at checkpoints by SDF forces, fear of death if caught by ISIL, and a possible choice to remain in their areas of origin to defend their property from looting and confiscation. IDPs also reported that the lack of civil status documentation is a common challenge, as many IDPs left their documents at home, lost them en route, or did not have their documents returned from the camp administration after the screening process.
As the offensive into Ar-Raqqa city continues, heavy clashes, increased shelling, and intensified airstrikes are likely to continue. The use of incendiary weapons has been reported in the city, causing significant casualties and injuries and might result in further displacement towards Ein Issa camp in Ein Issa sub-district, or further into ISIL-held areas, such as Deir-ez-Zor city. ISIL forces may also continue to prevent civilians from leaving Ar-Raqqa city which could also cause a dramatic increase in civilian casualties, as ISIL has been reported to regularly utilize civilians as human shields.
On 2 June, ISIL launched an offensive against GoS-held areas in western Deir-ez-Zor city which it continues to besiege since July 2014. The attack provoked heavy GoS-led shelling and airstrikes are likely to continue within Deir-ez-Zor city, with heavy retaliation expected from ISIL forces. On May 31, the World Food Program (WFP) dropped almost 20 tons of humanitarian food supplies into besieged Deir-ez-Zor city. Further WFP airdrops are planned for 12 June, however, as clashes between GoS and ISIL forces intensify, the window for the provision of humanitarian supplies may decrease due to shifting control lines inside Deir-ez-Zor city.
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