Unconfirmed Report: ISIS Calls on Raqqa Residents to Evacuate City

According earlier Russian report, ISIS has forbidden residents to leave Raqqa, which is reportedly the target of a Kurdish military thrust.

ISIS tanks photographed in Raqqa, Syria, in March.
ISIS tanks photographed in Raqqa, Syria, in March.Credit: AP

The Islamic State has begun calling on residents of Raqqa, its de facto capital in Syria, to begin evacuating the city, according to the Qasion news agency, which describes itself as a Syrian independent licensed agency.

The report could not be verified from other sources.

Qasion reported Saturday night that ISIS was broadcasting its approval to leave the city and take refuge in the surround countryside via mosque loudspeakers.

Earlier on Saturday, the Russian news service Sputnik reported that ISIS had reportedly forbidden civilians from fleeing the city, which Kurdish forces are said to be preparing to recapture.

ISIS militants have allegedly begun removing their own families from the stronghold, Sputnik said.

The reports follow a campaign by the United States and its allies in Syria urging citizens to leave the city, which has served as the ISIS capital since 2013.

“The time you have been waiting for has come, the time to leave Raqqa,” reads a flyer, allegedly dropped over the city and posted online by Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently (RBSS,) which calls itself a “group of non-violent activists in Raqqa.

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