Islamic State fortifies its headquarters in Raqqa to avoid U.S. strikes

An ISIS fighter holds a piece of what the group says is a US drone that crashed in Raqqa. File photo

ARA News

Erbil, Kurdistan Region – Militant fighters of the Islamic State group (IS/ISIS) started digging a security trench in the vicinity of the city of Raqqa, in northeastern Syria, local activists reported on Friday. 

The group is trying to strengthen its position in Raqqa, especially with the intensified U.S.-led airstrikes against group’s strongholds in the city.

Raqqa is considered the main headquarters for IS militants in Syria. It has been under the group’s control since more than two years.

“The project of fortifying Raqqa has started earlier this week, as the militants began digging a trench around the city. The work is currently being done in Sahalt Banat district in the eastern suburb of the city near Tel al-Bayaa area,” a media activist from Raqqa told ARA News on the condition of anonymity.

The trench is aimed at isolating the city of Raqqa from its countryside, which has been exposed to dozens of strikes by the U.S.-led international coalition in the recent weeks.

“The trench extends from Nasera district in the eastern parts of the city to the villages of Adnaniya and Mahlas in the north,” the source quoted an IS member as saying.

“The trench then extends to Ikthar al-Bizar sub-district, then to Harran outskirts and Hittin farm, and from there to the village of Qahtaniya west of Raqqa, all the way to the Euphrates River,” the source added, pointing out that the city will be surrounded by the river on the one hand, and the trench on the other.

The radical group had carried out a trench project in the Iraqi city of Mosul at the end April 2015, in an attempt to protect the city from any possible attacks by the U.S.-led international coalition or the Peshmerga forces.


Reporting by: Sarbaz Yousef

Source: ARA News

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