Terrorists from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) are preparing to defend areas they captured in northern Iraq after scores were killed last week in U.S. and French air strikes. The group has evacuated command-and-control centers in Mosul, Iraq and in Raqqa, Syria, according to a report posted by The Telegraph. They have also begun to use Yazidi women captives as human shields in other places, according to the report.
Raqqa is the informal “capital” of the ISIS “caliphate” and the site where the group has carried out three high-profile beheadings in recent weeks.
But it also turns out that in Raqqa, ISIS terrorists are still pretty much living the high life, when they are not busy with mass beheadings and capturing territory. It’s not a privilege they share with the locals, however.
The terrorists have taken over the governor’s ornate palace, and they are enjoying Western comforts brought to the palace by foreign fighters.
“Although there is a war on, Swiss chocolate is very popular with them,” one resident observed. “And you see some shops reserving Western food for the jihadists. I know that one of them asked a store to get an iPhone 6 for him. It cost $2,500 and was brought in from dealers in Turkey.”
Meanwhile, up to 100,000 Kurds and other local residents in the northern city of Kobane have fled to the Turkish border, where at least 70,000 had made it across by Monday morning in advance of a takeover of the city by ISIS.
Kurds who were moving in the other direction, however, to fight against ISIS, were equally concerned about the air strikes – not wanting to become targets themselves.
Abu Mohammed, a local activist quoted by the National Post and who runs the “Raqqa is being slaughtered silently” website, said, “People are afraid of the air strikes, that they might be used as human shields or be bombed.
“Many people fled to the countryside or to Turkey… When small planes for reconnaissance appear, the jihadists hide. They even lock the doors of their headquarters. They also moved their families, their women and children, outside Raqqa.”
Abu Mohammed added that locals don’t trust America any more than they trust ISIS. “If the U.S. is really against ISIS why did they leave them all that time, and why did they turna blind eye to Bashar al-Assad? He is a terrorist who is bombing us,” he asked.Rachel Levy