This post first appeared on Russia Insider
Russian military correspondents go where no Western journalist would dare, and are welcomed as heroes. Their western colleagues would probably be strung up from the nearest lamppost for their obscene lying about Syria over the years. Russians are great at war journalism because they don't scare easily. Their reports from Syria are almost always excellent.
The CIA and Mossad created and funded ISIS, which they used to invade Syria, and then, when the jig was up and they had to pretend to be on the right side, they bombed a few Syrian cities back into the stone age, not to destroy ISIS, which fled well in advance with ample warning from their friends, but to make sure the Syrians had nothing left. The infrastructure of Raqqa is non existent, they'd be better off if it was just sand. That's how Israel plays the game. Time for the Western voters to wake up and realize who has them by the tail.
Last Monday, the Russian Armed Forces entered Raqqa. The city in northern Syria was the "capital" of the barbarian caliphate for four years. The sight of it is astonishing. There are ruins in the place of the city that once flourished. Entire boroughs are smashed to pieces, the infrastructure is completely ruined. Residents of the city urgently need food, drinking water, and medicine.
This is the result of the operation to liberate Raqqa from ISIS, carried out in 2017 by the American Air Force and the Kurds. At least 13,000 civilian Syrians were killed in airstrikes. This isn't a final figure, as they're still sifting through the remains in Raqqa. They find new remains of those killed in the attacks. The operation to liberate Raqqa is often compared to the bombing of Dresden in 1945 by the British and American air forces. Historians still argue whether, from a military point of view, it was really necessary to destroy the old European city and kill 25,000 Dresden residents. There's the same question for the U.S. concerning Raqqa.
For comparison, the Russian servicemen who, together with Syrian servicemen, liberated Aleppo, were able to find another way to drive the terrorists out of the city, without destructive bombing.
Our military correspondent Evgeny Davydov in now in Raqqa.
This is a ghost city at night: the streets are dark, with almost no people. People make bonfires on the roadsides to warm up. Generators are the only source of electricity. This was shot in the afternoon: there are ruins instead of residential boroughs. About 200,000 lived in Raqqa before the war. Including the suburbs, there was a total of about 500,000. It was one of the biggest cities in Syria. The Russian convoy entered the banned ISIS's fighters' main city for the first time. The billboard says in Arabian, "Welcome to Raqqa." There's a Russian flag on the armored vehicle. Entire streets gather to greet our servicemen. There are hundreds of people and their genuine emotions.
This is how the Russian humanitarian convoy is received here in Raqqa. There are tens and hundreds of people expressing genuine emotions.
Raqqa actually became an open training ground for hostilities. The majority of city boroughs have been destroyed. Central streets were cleared of mines but it's still dangerous to go deep into alleys. The city is totally ruined. This is one of the main streets - Al-Mansur - before the bombing by the coalition. This is how it looked after that. These are the photos of city boroughs from above. Western liberators generously used bombs and missiles. They razed residential blocks to the ground. There's colossal destruction; traces of battle can be spotted everywhere. Burnt tanks are now heaps of scrap. Militants of the banned ISIS left Raqqa two years ago but dormant terrorist squads are still active on the outskirts. Kurdish defense squads now control Raqqa and its suburbs. The Syrian Armed Forces have no checkpoints. Those trying to return to Raqqa often die because of shells left by the militants. According to official figures, 119 people have been blown up by land mines last year alone.
Ibragim Abdel Muhammed, Raqqa resident: “We ask Russia to liberate us from the terrorists. They must be driven out of here to prevent them from stepping on our roads and reaching the Euphrates. We wait for the government forces to come here. Then, it'll finally be safe here.”
There are now those here who have no place to go. Many of them have relatives living in the territories controlled by the Syrian government. There are jobs, and one can support a family. But it's difficult to get there. Bridges over the Euphrates were destroyed in coalition attacks.
Abu Bashar, Raqqa resident: “We're happy that the Russian Army is here. We hate war. With your arrival, it's almost over.”
These are the first steps to restore peace in Raqqa. They sent two trucks stuffed with food to the brim. They gave away all the packages in a few minutes.
Vladimir Varnavsky, Russia officer: “The works to clear the rubble and mines in the city are still not yet complete. There's a shortage of pure water, medicine, and food. In today's action, Russian servicemen gave away several thousand food packages to Raqqa residents. Our military doctors are ready to provide with highly-qualified medical assistance to anyone that needs it.”
This is a refugee camp near the Lebanese border. Jibril is from Raqqa; he and his family fled from the militants four years ago.
Jibril, Raqqa resident: “Yes, it's hard. It's difficult to find a job. But it's better than being afraid of dying every day. There's finally peace in my native town. It means that we'll return home soon.”Support Russia Insider - Go Ad-Free!
During the war, many families lost their breadwinners, people have to live below the poverty line. Those who lost their houses live in such tents. They haven't received medical assistance in years. Reconciliation Center employees and military doctors promised to pay regular visits here.
This post first appeared on Russia Insider
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