Foreign Fighters 'Could' Have Escaped Syria's Raqqa: Coalition

تم نشره في Wed 15 November / Nov 2017. 01:00 AM
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WASHINGTON —AlGhad— Foreign fighters from the Daesh terror group may have escaped the Syrian city of Raqqa shortly before its recapture, the spokesman for the US-led coalition late Tuesday said .

More than 3,000 civilians had evacuated the city on October 14 under a deal negotiated between officials from the Raqqa Civil Council and Syrian Daesh fighters, days before victory over the terrorists was declared.

The coalition said at the time that it was "very adamant" that foreign Daesh fighters not be allowed to leave Raqqa, but the BBC reported Monday that hundreds of the group's fighters, including foreigners, as well as arms and ammunition, had been transported out of Raqqa in a massive convoy assembled on October 12.

Coalition spokesman, Colonel Ryan Dillon, told reporters that "out of the 3,500 civilians that came out of Raqqa at that time, approximately less than 300 were identified and screened as potential (Daesh) fighters." "In the course of that screening, there were four foreign fighters that were identified and were detained by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF)," he said.

Dillon said that the agreement with the SDF was that the photos and fingerprints of all men of fighting age would be checked to prevent known terrorists from escaping, but that "I can't say with a 100 percent certainty that every single fighter was identified coming out of Raqqa." When the convoy left Raqqa, it was tracked by coalition drones, but the decision was made not to strike it due to the presence of civilians, Dillon said.