A deal with Islamic state

“The Islamic State’s foreign fighters ... where on earth are they? Mosul, almost none. Raqqa, a few.

Published: 15th November 2017 04:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 15th November 2017 03:20 AM   |  A+A-

“The Islamic State’s foreign fighters ... where on earth are they? Mosul, almost none. Raqqa, a few. Deir ez-Zor, none reported yet,” Pieter Van Ostaeyen, a historian who has been covering the conflict in Syria, tweeted recently. Now, his question has been partially answered

Under the gaze of the West

The BBC’s team in Syria has uncovered details of a secret deal that let hundreds of IS fighters—including foreigners—escape from Raqqa. The Syrian city was captured by US-aided fighters recently. And the deal happened under the gaze of the coalition forces, says the report written by Quentin Sommerville and Riam Dalati

Once the deal was made, the SDF cleared Raqqa of media. Islamic State fighters were leaving and they did not want the world to know it. Although the SDF said only a few dozen fighters were able to leave, one of the lorry drivers who ferried away IS fighters in his vehicle told the BBC that it was not true. “We took out 4,000 people … there was a huge number of foreigners. France, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Pakistan, Yemen, Saudi, China, Tunisia, Egypt.”

‘Trucks full of fighters’

A secret footage of the envoy, which the BBC reporters saw, “shows lorries crammed with armed men”. Now, the coalition admits it played part in the deal but says a Western official was present for the discussions. But they didn’t take “active part” in the talks

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