On October 14, a spokesman for the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) confirmed to Reuters that the SDF has reached a deal with ISIS that allows ISIS fighters to withdraw from the city.
Meanwhile, SDF spokesperson Talal Silo told Reuters that foreign fighters would be left behind “to surrender or die”.
However, Omar Alloush, a member of Raqqa’s Civil Council, said that the evacuation will include foreign fighters, and it will take place overnight into October 15.
The Kurdish Hawar News Agency also confirmed the deal between the SDF and ISIS. According to Hawar, the SDF agreed to the deal upon a request from local Arabian tribes of Raqqa.
Hawar added that the tribes released an official statement demanding the SDF to accept the deal in order to save the civilians who are trapped in the ISIS-held areas inside the city.
Earlier, the US-led coalition released a statement saying that the SDF agreed with an unknown side to evacuate some “people” from Raqqah. From the very begining, it was clear that these “people” are ISIS members.
Local sources confirmed earlier that dozens of buses gathered near the city to evacuate ISIS fighters and their families to ISIS-held areas in Deir Ezzor governorate according to the deal with the SDF.
If the deal includes the evacuating the foreign ISIS fighters from Raqqa city, the battle of Raqqa will likely end within the next 48 hours. If not, ISIS foreign fighters might be able to resist SDF for few days before they are fully eliminated.