Islamic State terrorists are forcing male citizens of Raqqa to dress in terrorist garb, the Associated Press reports.
The garb includes flowy pants and long shirts, a uniform worn by ISIS members both in Iraq and Syria. Forcing the men to wear the uniform will complicate efforts to distinguish between civilians and combatants.
The move is just one in a series of moves by the terror group designed to deter U.S. operations by means of civilians trapped inside the city. The group has now encircled the entire city of Raqqa with landmines and checkpoints, and is also forcing residents to camp out in tents in the middle of the street.
ISIS has also put tarps up above streets to allow for freedom of movement, and are heavily booby trapping the entire city. The preparations also include ferreting European fighters to safer locations, so they may be sent abroad to carry out terrorist operations if the caliphate falls. The group is applying many of the urban defense lessons from the battle for Mosul to its defenses of Raqqa.
“They tell people … it is a battle against Islam, all nations are attacking us and the Prophet says we should be united,” one resident told the AP. He continued, “They are putting psychological pressure on residents.”
ISIS’s actions are likely preparations for the coming U.S.-backed assault on the city. The Trump administration has significantly escalated the U.S. role in Syria and is hitting the city of Raqqa with airstrikes daily to shape the battlefield for the coming assault by the Syrian Democratic Forces. U.S. Army Gen. Joseph Votel indicated before Congress Wednesday that the Trump administration would rely on local forces to do the ground fighting against ISIS, with significant U.S. assistance.
The group has stymied the U.S. and Iraqi Security Forces in the fight for Mosul, where thousands of civilians have been caught in the fighting. ISIS routinely uses Mosuls’s civilian population to deter U.S. airstrikes, and in some cases lures U.S. airstrikes into intentionally killing civilians. The group has deployed suicide bombers among civilians fleeing the fighting to kill soldiers at checkpoints.
Follow Saagar Enjeti on Twitter
Send tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact email@example.com.