Suicide bombers destroy Afghan army base

Suicide bombers destroy Afghan army base

At least 43 Afghan soldiers have been killed after two suicide bombers in Humvee trucks targeted a military base in the southern province of Kandahar.

Nine others were wounded and six were missing, the defence ministry said. Ten militants were also said to have died.

The attack, which happened in the Chashmo area of Maiwand district, is the third major assault on Afghan security forces this week.

The Taliban said it was behind the early morning bloodshed.

“Unfortunately there is nothing left inside the camp. They have burned down everything they found inside,” defence ministry spokesman Dawlat Waziri said.

Two days earlier, Taliban suicide bombers and gunmen killed at least 41 people when they stormed a police training centre in the eastern Afghan city of Gardez.

Some 150 people were injured in the violence. The local hospital, in Paktia province, said it was “overwhelmed” and issued an urgent appeal for blood donors.

The same day, at least 30 more people died in car bombings in neighbouring Ghazni province. Armoured Humvee vehicles filled with explosives were detonated near the provincial governor’s office, before gunmen moved in.

Afghanistan’s army and police have suffered heavy casualties this year at the hands of the Taliban, who want to re-impose their strict version of Islamic law in the country.

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New Zealand gets its youngest woman PM

New Zealand gets its youngest woman PM

New Zealand is set for a centre-left coalition government led by Labour head Jacinda Ardern.

Ms Ardern has been opposition leader for the last three months. At 37, she is set to be the country’s youngest prime minister since 1856.

Her Labour Party came second in September’s election, where no party was able to secure a majority.

They are now tipped for power after the small New Zealand First party agreed to join them in government.

The new coalition will also be supported by the Green Party.


‘Now is when the hard work begins’

Analysis by Hywel Griffith, BBC News

Jacinda Ardern has already proved she can run a good campaign and broker a political deal – but now she faces new challenges.

High on her to-do list will be convincing the majority of New Zealanders who didn’t vote for her that the party which came second should be in power.

There are also bridges to build with the Australian government – which accused the New Zealand Labour party of conspiring against it in the current dual-nationals crisis.

But the biggest challenge could be keeping her new coalition on the tracks.

Her likely Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters is known to hold a real dislike for the Green Party, on which the government will depend to get its policies through.

Arguably, now is when the real hard work beings.


Who is Jacinda Ardern?

Baby question angers NZ party leader

What propels young leaders to power?

New Zealand First head Winston Peters on Thursday announced his party’s decision to ally itself with Labour, after 26 days of negotiations.

His party holds the balance of power with nine seats, while the Labour-Green bloc has 54 seats and the National Party 56 seats.

He said his party was faced with a decision between “modified status quo or change” and decided to go for change.

‘Jacinda-mania’

The campaign ahead of the September general election had seen a tightly contested race between incumbent Bill English, from the National Party, and rising political star Jacinda Ardern.

The strong Labour support, dubbed “Jacinda-mania”, brought the party neck and neck with the National Party, though supported dropped slightly in the last days of the campaign.

Ms Ardern had targeted young New Zealanders with policies on education subsidies, housing and the environment.

Who is Jacinda Ardern?

  • Involved in left-wing politics since her teens – including spending time in the UK as policy adviser to Tony Blair
  • First entered parliament in 2008, at the age of 28
  • Took over the Labour leadership on 31 July
  • Made tackling inequality, affordable housing and student debt a key part of her election campaign
  • Has been outspoken on feminism and mental health
  • Brought up a Mormon – but left the faith over its opposition to same-sex marriage

Speaking to reporters after the coalition deal was announced, Ms Ardern said: “I feel extraordinarily honoured and privileged to be in the position to form a government with Labour at the lead.”

She said the government would work hard to deliver on its campaign promises, and that New Zealand First would have four cabinet positions and one parliamentary under-secretary.

Correspondents say the new coalition is likely to mean a significant cut to immigration quotas and new controls on foreign ownership of property.

Bill English became prime minister in 2016 when his predecessor John Key unexpectedly resigned.

He had promised voters experience and reliable economic management.

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Massive fire guts iconic Myanmar hotel

Massive fire guts iconic Myanmar hotel

A massive fire has destroyed an iconic luxury hotel in the city of Yangon in Myanmar, killing one person.

Two others were injured in the blaze which began around 03:00 (20:30 GMT Wednesday) at the Kandawgyi Palace.

The hotel, which was largely made out of teak and built in a traditional Burmese style, was a local landmark popular with tourists.

It took hundreds of firefighters several hours to put out the blaze. More than 140 guests were evacuated.

It is unclear how the fire began, with varying media reports of either a gas cylinder explosion or an electrical wire short-circuiting.

Htay Lwin, a spokesman from the Htoo Group which owns the hotel, told AFP news agency: “It’s hard to say why the fire broke out, the cause is under investigation.”

He added that they were still trying to identify the person who died.

An American guest at the hotel, Adrienne Frilot, told Frontier Myanmar that she did not hear a fire alarm and woke up only when hotel staff knocked on her door frantically.

“We realised that something was wrong and opened the door and we smelled the smoke and then evacuated immediately,” she told the local news website.

“There was no alarm and it just sort of sounded like there were drunken people in the hallways,” she said, adding that staff helped to guide her and others to safety.

Guests have been moved to other hotels in Yangon.

The hotel, which sits by the Kandawgyi lake, was built in the 1990s but its oldest section dates back to the 1930s, when the site was used as a rowing club by British army officers.

The Htoo Group was founded by controversial Burmese tycoon Tay Za, who was closely linked to Myanmar’s former military regime.

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Tillerson praises India and warns China

Tillerson praises India and warns China

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said the US wants to deepen co-operation with India in the face of growing Chinese influence in Asia.

He described India as a “partner” in a “strategic relationship”, adding the US would “never have the same relationship with China, a non-democratic society”.

He said Beijing sometimes acted outside international conventions, citing the South China Sea dispute as an example.

His comments come ahead of his visit to India next week.

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump will visit a number of Asian countries including China, in November.

Speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank in Washington, Mr Tillerson said “the United States seeks constructive relations with China, but we will not shrink from China’s challenges to the rules-based order and where China subverts the sovereignty of neighbouring countries and disadvantages the US and our friends”.

He also described the US and India as “increasingly global partners” who “don’t just share an affinity for democracy. We share a vision of the future.”

The secretary of state’s remarks came hours after Chinese President Xi Jinping’s speech at the Chinese Communist Party congress, where Mr Xi signalled that Beijing intended to play a greater role in world affairs.

Mr Xi said that China had now “become a great power in the world”, and that the Chinese growth under Communist rule had given “a new choice” to other developing countries.

However, in his speech on Wednesday, Mr Tillerson criticised “China’s provocative actions in the South China Sea”, saying they directly challenged “the international law and norms that the United States and India both stand for”.

“China, while rising alongside India, has done so less responsibly, at times undermining the international, rules-based order,” he added.

He called on India to play a greater security role in the region, saying “India and the United States should be in the business of equipping other countries to defend their sovereignty… and have a louder voice in a regional architecture that promotes their interests and develops their economies.”

Following Mr Tillerson’s speech, the Chinese Embassy in Washington said in a statement that Beijing “will never seek hegemony or engage in expansion, never pursue development at the expenses of others’ interests”.

It added that China “contributes to and defends the rules-based world order”.

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What comes next for Raqqa — and for ISIS

What comes next for Raqqa — and for ISIS

American officials have not yet formally announced that the fight is won, but the developments mark a significant moment for the war on ISIS — and perhaps, in real tangible, conventional military terms, its end.

Why it’s important

Soldiers from the Syrian Democratic Forces celebrate the liberation of Raqqa.
Mosul in Iraq may have been the biggest population center the militants ever held, but Raqqa was the seat of ISIS’ power. It was the major city they took first in Syria, and where the terror group declared its capital.
When the jihadists swung into the city in late 2013, it had been for decades a secular oasis in the Syrian regime’s desert, turned into chaos by the civil war. ISIS quickly put its ugly brand on it with public executions, including beheadings.
ISIS defeated in Raqqa as 'major military operations' declared over

ISIS defeated in Raqqa as 'major military operations' declared over

Raqqa slowly became the group’s center of global operations, its national hospital and stadium serving as headquarters from where attacks on foreign targets were planned.
After the loss of Mosul, the US coalition-backed noose on Raqqa was already in place, but the huge symbolism of the city for ISIS remained. Now, it is out of the terror group’s hands.
There are cities and towns scattered in the Syrian and Iraqi desert where ISIS retains control, but they no longer hold a major city. It spells the end of the self-proclaimed “caliphate” as it was, and the end of an era for ISIS. Its supporters must now unite online, harking back to a time when they once held actual territory. The terror group as we knew it is gone.

What next for ISIS?

The group will continue to exist as a ragtag insurgency, chased between the places where they can hide among sympathizers — some along the Euphrates River, where their elusive and possibly injured leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is thought to be hiding. But they now become an idea: the memory of a time when the caliphate existed, before it was quashed by an international coalition.
The threat of jihadists will remain a significant problem in the West, where the idea of ISIS has often been enough to compel deranged individuals into plowing cars into innocent civilians.
But for the few attacks that appear to have had central planning — much of it based out of Raqqa — there is no longer a plotting “brain” to pull the trigger, or a genuine geographical location from which ISIS leaders can claim credit for an attack. They are hobbled, massively.

Who will govern Raqqa?

The plan of the US coalition and the Syrian Democratic Forces is that a civil governing council of chosen local Arabs — backed up by an interim security force — will soon take over Raqqa and begin the job of rebuilding. But there are holes in this plan.
SDF forces consist mostly of Kurds who likely have no real long-term interest in holding Raqqa, a predominantly Arab city. And the Arabs who used to live there have found themselves either fleeing to refugee camps or living alongside ISIS in Raqqa.
New details on the hunt for ISIS leader Baghdadi

New details on the hunt for ISIS leader Baghdadi

These Arabs are predominantly Sunni, and thus part of the Syrian population most persecuted by the Syrian regime in the civil war. Sunnis also account for many of the aggrieved in neighboring Iraq, living under a Shia government. And so it was Sunnis from which ISIS found most of its recruits.
Sunni grievances have yet to be addressed in both Iraq and Syria, and they have no internationally respected or viable leadership ready to step in. So the idea of there being a cohesive and successful pro-Sunni government in a box that US-backed forces can unleash is unrealistic.
There’s also little to actually govern in Raqqa, which has been flattened by months of airstrikes. Billions will be needed to rebuild its infrastructure.
SDF soldiers enter the national stadium to plant the flag there.
The city will now fall in between two or three competing groups. The Syrian regime, with massive Russian military assistance, is just miles away, and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad once stated his desire to reclaim all of Syria. The Kurds seek their own homeland to its north, and may hang on to it, in spirit at least, as a bargaining chip. And finally, there’s the locals: the remnants of Raqqa’s original population. They have divided loyalties, nowhere to live, and rubble — in many cases — for homes.
Raqqa has gone from being a city prized by all to a ruin nobody may really want.

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Bergen: No, Trump didn’t defeat ISIS

Bergen: No, Trump didn’t defeat ISIS

President Donald Trump quickly took a victory lap during an interview the same day, stating that ISIS hadn’t been defeated earlier because “you didn’t have Trump as your president.”
Is this claim true? Not really, according to US military officials.
In August 2016, Lt. Gen. Sean MacFarland, who was the ground commander for the fight against ISIS, said the US-led coalition had killed an estimated 45,000 ISIS fighters.
About a year later, at the Aspen Security Forum in July 2017, the commander of the US Special Operations Command, Gen. Raymond “Tony” Thomas, said that an estimated 60,000 to 70,000 ISIS fighters had been killed since the US-led campaign against the terror group began in August 2014.
Ergo, according to these senior US military officials, the bulk of ISIS fighters were killed during the pre-Trump period.
That shouldn’t be too surprising. After all, the campaign to eradicate ISIS began two and a half years before Trump assumed office.
The operation to take back Mosul, the second-largest city in Iraq where ISIS had first declared its “caliphate,” began in October 2016 while President Barack Obama was still in office and had been long-planned.
Shortly after the Mosul operation was launched, Gen. Joseph Votel, the commander of US Central Command, which oversees the wars in Iraq and Syria, told me: “We have been doing preparatory stuff against Raqqa and Mosul for a long time, long before we said, ‘the assault on Mosul has begun.’ We have taken out 36 ISIS leaders in the Mosul area; to me that is part of the preparation phase.”
Under Obama, ISIS also lost significant Iraqi cities such as Falluja, Ramadi and Tikrit.
To be sure, Trump loosened the “rules of engagement” for the US military, enabling ground commanders to more easily carry out operations without having to seek permission up the chain of command, but these are tactical changes — not strategic game changers.
According to the UK-based Airwars, which carefully tracks coalition airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, the numbers of strikes has declined in Iraq under Trump, while they have spiked in Syria.
Significantly, in May, Trump approved a plan to arm the Kurdish forces fighting ISIS in Syria. Turkey strenuously objected to this plan because of its restive Kurdish population, but the Trump administration went ahead anyway. These are the Kurdish forces that helped to liberate Raqqa on Tuesday.
Bottom line: There is much continuity between the Obama campaign plan against ISIS and the Trump plan.
Also, Trump needs to be careful about taking too much of a victory lap when it comes to ISIS. He could fall into the same trap that Obama did when he observed in early 2014 that ISIS was a “JV team” — meaning junior varsity team, made up of younger, less-experienced players.
The political conditions in the Middle East that gave rise to ISIS — the sectarian and ethnic conflicts around the region and the collapse of Arab governments and economies — will surely engender a son of ISIS. And even a deeply wounded ISIS can continue to inspire attacks in the West.

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ISIS’ power is waning, but its child slave trade is still booming

ISIS’ power is waning, but its child slave trade is still booming

A member of the Iraqi religious minority, the Yazidis, Lazem was stolen from his family as a toddler when ISIS fighters overran northern Iraq’s Sinjar province in August 2014, pillaging towns and villages. Thousands of Yazidi men were killed at the terror group’s hands; women and children from the community were captured and sold.
Three years on, ISIS’ slave trade continues to prosper, even as the extremist group’s power and influence wane. ISIS has been largely driven out of its former Syrian stronghold, Raqqa, in recent days — only sleeper cells are thought to remain in the city.
According to the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Office of Kidnapped Rescues, more than 3,000 people — most of them women and children — are still being held by the terror group.
Many of those who manage to flee their ISIS kidnappers find themselves held to ransom, at the mercy of unscrupulous smugglers. For this reason, only half of Yazidi captives have been rescued, according to the KRG.

They called him ‘boy’

Reunited with his father, Qassem Abdu Ali, at the Rwanga community camp, home to thousands of Yazidis who fled ISIS’ incursion into Sinjar, Lazem sits quietly behind the weather-beaten figure; ten days since they were reconciled, he has not yet managed to say a word to his father.
Separated from those who loved him, Lazem grew up learning Turkmen and Turkish, the languages of his ISIS militant captors, rather than his native Kurmanji, the Kurdish dialect spoken by his community.
Lazem was captured by ISIS when he was a toddler. He was freed last month, but struggles to communicate with his father.
First sent to the ISIS stronghold of Tal Afar, Lazem ended up in Turkey, well outside ISIS territory. Little is known about how he got there. Even in Turkish, he is reticent, so few details of his time in captivity are clear.
Bought initially by the wife of an ISIS commander who had no son of her own, Lazem is thought to have worked as a servant. He says his first “owner” was nice, but refuses to talk about the second.
He looks up tenderly at those who try to speak to him, constantly tugging at a strand of hair concealing a scar on his forehead, but where it came from, he won’t say.
They called him “Ghulam” (boy), authorities charged with rescuing Lazem tell CNN. Until he was brought back to his community last week, he thought “Boy” was his name.

Child soldier on ISIS’ frontline

Marwan, 11, was captured by ISIS at Mount Sinjar, the site of a major Yazidi massacre at the hands of ISIS in August 2014, and shuttled from place to place, bought and sold 11 times, spending much of the last three years in Raqqa, the self-declared capital of ISIS’ so-called caliphate.
Used alternately as servant and soldier, he was taught ISIS’ radical interpretation of Islam and dispatched to the frontline of ISIS’ war, where his captors placed him front and center during battle — common practice for Yazidi child soldiers.
“ISIS taught me how to use an RPG, a Doshka, a pistol, a grenade,” says Marwan, as he sits in the pick-up truck carrying him over the border from Syria into Iraqi Kurdistan, and his makeshift home in a refugee camp.
The Soviet-era heavy machine gun must have been tough for a child his age to handle we say, surprised. Marwan’s eyes widen. “No, but I was very strong!” he exclaims.
“They used Marwan as a servant in their houses, and as a soldier in their frontlines, because Marwan doesn’t matter to them,” says Abdullah Shrem, who coordinated an elaborate smuggling operation to secure Marwan’s release. “It doesn’t matter if he is killed or attacked.”
Marwan weeps with his grandmother after being reunited with his family after three years as a slave and child soldier under ISIS.
“When I saw my mother, I cried tears of joy,” a wide-eyed Marwan tells CNN, just hours after the pair’s emotional reunion.
“I couldn’t sleep all night,” Marwan’s mother, Umm Marwan, says. “I can’t eat because I am full. I am full of excitement.” She, too, was once an ISIS slave — most of the Yazidi women abducted by ISIS were traded for sex.
Her husband and Marwan’s brother remain in captivity.
On the Kurdish Iraqi side of the border, in the shadow of the barren hills of Mount Sinjar, the pair climb down from the pick-up truck, to meet the boy’s benefactor.
“Do you know who this man is?” one of Marwan’s relatives asks him, gesturing at Shrem.
“Yeah, he’s the man who purchased me,” says an obliging Marwan.
“Rescued you,” says Shrem, quick to correct him.
But Marwan isn’t entirely wrong. For the last three years, he has been bought and sold over and over. His freedom, too, has come at a price. It’s a reality that Marwan takes in his stride.

Buying back ransomed slaves

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), a semi-autonomous body that governs Kurdish-controlled regions in northern Iraq, says it is spending millions of dollars to secure the release of Yazidi slaves.
The ISIS slave market began with bazaars at which Yazidi women, children, and the elderly were sold into all forms of servitude — including sex slavery.
Who are the Yazidis?
  • Religious sect whose beliefs draw on Sufi Islam, Christianity and Zoroastrianism
  • Followers believe in single god who created Earth, left it in the care of peacock angel
  • Yazidi community hails from northern Iraq; spiritual heart is the village of Lalish
  • Subjected to large-scale persecution by ISIS, which accuses them of devil worship
  • Terror group accused of committing genocide against the religious minority
Their rescue has spawned an altogether different economy.
Once out of ISIS’s hands, Yazidi captives fall into the hands of smugglers, not all of whom are well-intentioned.
Even for those, like Marwan and Lazem, who are lucky enough to be rescued from their ISIS captors, the path back to “normal” life is not an easy one.
When Lazem’s father — the only free member of his family — was taken to Turkey by the KRG to meet his son, he was met with a harsh response from Turkish authorities.
“They couldn’t believe he was my son,” Abdu Ali tells CNN. “They said: ‘How come your son speaks Turkish and you don’t? There’s no way he’s your son.'”
KRG officials say Abdu Ali had to take a paternity test to prove his relationship with Lazem; it wasn’t until two months later, when the results confirmed they were father and son, that the pair could return together to Iraq.
Yazidi girls whose families fled when ISIS fighters took over their village three years ago.
Between the rows of makeshift houses, Lazem wanders the rocky alleys of the Rwanga camp.
A boy runs up to him and flings his arm around him in a huge hug. The pair don’t know each other’s names, they don’t even understand each other’s words, but here and now, safe and with family nearby, they share the language common to children around the world: Playtime.

Boys brainwashed by captors

Lazem is still young enough that he may one day forget the worst of his ordeal at the hands of ISIS, but for other, older children like Marwan, that may prove more difficult.
His bright green eyes and mild voice make it easy to gloss over the fact Marwan was forced to fight for the world’s most reviled terror group. Now and then, though, he shows flashes of anger, a reminder of the horrors he’s been through.
“Where are you taking me? No, I don’t want to go!” he screeches as he is escorted to the vehicle waiting at the border to take him home. He fights to break free of his mother’s clasp. It takes several minutes to convince him that he won’t be sent to yet another captor.
There is little counseling on offer for repatriated Yazidi boys to help treat their trauma or counter the brainwashing they were subjected to. Many captives have been indoctrinated to hate their own communities, in keeping with ISIS’ extremist ideology.
But Shrem says that the KRG’s Office of Kidnapped Rescues “properly screens” the boys before they are returned to their families. “Marwan told us he was eager to go back home, and said he believed the Yazidis were the best and most honest people,” he says.
Many of them are held for months, even years, by non-ISIS groups who demand a ransom for their release, CNN has learned from official sources.
As the captives change hands, their abductors hope to stack up profits, boosting prices and making the abductees’ release increasingly costly as time passes.

Fraught family reunion

In the Iraqi Kurdish town of Zakho, Marwan finds a crowd of extended family members waiting to welcome him outside of his family’s tent; he smiles sweetly as his eyes meet theirs.
Elderly Yazidi women weep over their sons and daughters who remain in captivity.
He is greeting his sisters and cousins with polite handshakes and cheek-to-cheek kisses, when from the middle of the crowd, an elderly woman pulls him into her chest: his grandmother.
Marwan appears to battle back tears, torn between the boy he is and the fighter he was forced to become.
He glares at the camera and the family surrounding him before – shaking – he finally begins to weep into the crook of his grandmother’s neck as the crowd surrounding them breaks into a crescendo of sobs.
“Where is your father? Where is your brother?” she wails repeatedly, pleading for news of her abducted son and grandson.
Even with Marwan returned to them, the family is still divided; their plight at the hands of ISIS’ slave trade goes on.

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Raqqa drone video shows ISIS execution square – CNN Video

Raqqa drone video shows ISIS execution square – CNN Video
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Now Playing

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ISIS defeated in Raqqa stronghold

ISIS defeated in Raqqa stronghold

The development marks a decisive victory in the fight against ISIS, though US officials said there were still pockets of resistance in the city.
“Major military operations in Raqqa are finished but they are now clearing the city of sleeper cells — if they exist — and mines,” Talal Salo, spokesman for the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, told CNN. The SDF is a coalition of Arab and Kurdish fighters.
“The situation in Raqqa is under control and soon there will be an official statement declaring the liberation of the city.”
A member of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), backed by US special forces, holds their flag at the Al-Naim square in Raqqa on October 17, 2017.

Symbol of ISIS decline

The defeat of ISIS in Raqqa is a symbol of the terror group’s decline — it now controls a small strip of territory along the Euphrates river in northern Syria.
The city became the de facto capital of the terror group’s self-proclaimed “caliphate” following a sweep of territorial gains in Iraq and Syria in 2014.
Foreign fighters swelled the ranks of ISIS in Raqqa, which it used as a base to launch terror attacks around the world.
A sustained effort to retake the city began in early June, in an operation led by the SDF and backed up by coalition air strikes. The SDF announced the final phase of the operation at the weekend.
Soldiers of SDF reaching inside of stadium to put the flag. Syria, Raqqah - October 17, 2017
In the past few days, the SDF said it had cleared ISIS fighters from the National Raqqa Hospital and Paradise Square, the infamous area in the center where ISIS jihadists carried out public beheadings and crucifixions.
The terror group’s black flag was hauled down from Raqqa’s stadium, its last hideout in the city, on Tuesday, Reuters reported.
“The SDF have taken casualties in the past hours and we expect there will still be pockets of ISIS fighters in the coming days,” coalition spokesman Col. Ryan Dillon told CNN.
Syrian Democratic Forces celebrate in Raqqa.
In a sign that the SDF operation was nearing a conclusion, coalition air strikes had eased off in the past week. There was only one US airstrike in Syria Monday, but that was far from Raqqa. Dillon said the SDF hadn’t asked for air support in the past couple of days.
Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently (RBSS), the award-winning network of citizen journalists who remained in the city throughout the occupation, tweeted Monday that 30 buses and 10 trucks were used to transfer ISIS fighters from Raqqa.
Soldiers of SDF on the top of a humvee during celebration of the liberation of Raqqah. West Raqqah October 17, 2017
The group also said that since the US-backed operation to free Raqqa began in early June, there had been 3,829 airstrikes on the city, 90 suicide bombings and 1,873 victims. It said 450,000 people had been displaced.
“We don’t consider it a liberation because SDF has committed many human rights violations against civilians,” Abdalaziz Alhamza, co-founder of RBSS told CNN.
“Most of Raqqa people, including us, were looking forward to the day that ISIS would be defeated, but not in this scenario, having a new leadership that committed many human rights violations,” he said.
A member of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), forces, looks out from a building at the frontline in Raqqa on October 16.
Alhamza also warned that the ISIS ideology was still spreading. “They might disappear from Syria and Iraq but they will appear somewhere else,” he said, adding that many will probably have returned to their families in the countryside.

Humanitarian crisis grows

Meanwhile Save the Children warned that the humanitarian crisis was escalating, despite the retreat of ISIS in the region. “The military offensive in Raqqa may be coming to an end, but the humanitarian crisis is greater than ever,” the aid group’s Syria director Sonia Khush said in a statement.
It warned that some 270,000 people who had fled the fighting in Raqqa still needed help, and that refugee camps were “bursting at the seams.”
It said that most families had no homes to return to and that thousands of civilians were displaced in the eastern Deir Ezzor province, where fighting was still ongoing Tuesday.
“Many are plagued by nightmares from witnessing horrific violence and will need extensive psychological support,” Save the Children said.

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