panzer-sdfThe driver of the panzer is Çavreş. Every day he drives several times to the city centre and returns. He knows every neighbourhood and street of Raqqa city by heart. We got on his vehicle and he started to tell us the names of every single neighbourhood we passed through, even before we asked him. And he told us about what he has witnessed and experienced.

War might be everywhere the same, yet the battle in Raqqa and the fight against ISIS is of a different level. The difference lies in the size of the city and in the fact that most of its buildings are multi-storeyed, and the most interesting circumstance of all: that ISIS declared this city their capital.

For exactly that reason relentless battles were fought in every single street and house. Demolished buildings and bullet holes are catching the eye. We reached the city centre and met a group of fighters who were mainly from Efrîn.

We were standing close to the Ferdos Street and Nıştıman Hospital. According to what the fighters told us, many ISIS gang members were in the hospital and there were civilians they held captive. The fighters therefore approached the hospital very carefully and guardedly.

The sound of exploding bullets from all four directions filled our ears. Creaking voices from the mobile radios informed that ISIS gangs were attacking the neighbourhoods of Sînaha, Mishleb and Samra. The unit’s commander Araz Hesekê told us all those attacks were successfully frustrated and more than 40 ISIS gang members were killed.

The commander said that the more they encircle the ISIS gangs, the more do the gangs get infuriated and ferocious and attack with all their might, and are getting killed in the end.

In every building there were fighters positioned. We asked them about the civilians and were told that there are very few civilians that manage to flee from the clutches of the ISIS gangs clandestinely.

Later on we came across a group of civilians that had been freed by the fighters. Most of them had suffered hunger and thirst and they were complaining how the ISIS gangs took away the loaf of bread in their mouth by force and told about their escape from ISIS.

Raqqa is encircled for more than two months now. The sound of bullets and mortars is not lowering for a second. 85% of the city has been freed already. It is expected that Raqqa city will be fully liberated from ISIS within one month.

Source: Firat News Agency