ISIS terrorists are effectively using the entire population of Raqqa as human shields, AP reported, as US-backed forces push on to capture the ISIS bastion in Syria.
ISIS leaders transported their own families outside of the northern Syrian city before planting a belt of landmines and checkpoints in and out of Raqqa to prevent civilians from escaping.
All men were ordered to wear the militants’ garb of baggy pants and long shirts, making it difficult to distinguish militants from civilians.
It is estimated 300,000 people are trapped inside the city, living in terrifying uncertainty over their safety.
“The people really don’t know where to go,” an activist told AP, adding residents were caught between airstrikes, land mines and ISIS fighters mingling among civilians.
Enormous tarps have been stretched for blocks in the city centre to hide the militants’ movements from spy planes and satellites.
Airstrikes by the US-led coalition shake the city almost daily, mainly hitting northern neighbourhoods, amid reports of civilians killed by strikes in the nearby countryside.