RAQQA, Syria (Kurdistan24) – The Islamic State (IS) militants in Syria have recently changed their fighting strategy in their stronghold of Raqqa by inventing new defense mechanisms, a Kurdistan24 correspondent reported on Monday.
After the US-backed, Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) controlled extensive areas of Raqqa city, IS insurgents changed their plans and techniques.
Previously, in Tal Abyad, Kobani, Shaddadi, and Manbij, the extremist group relied mainly on car bombs and suicide bombers in addition to using civilians as human shields.
SDF fighters told Kurdistan24 about the new defense mechanisms used by IS in Raqqa.
“[IS] terrorists use drones throwing explosives and launch counterattacks through tunnels,” Hamza, an Arab SDF fighter, said.
According to locals and SDF fighters, the tunnels in Raqqa aimed at protecting IS militants from US-led coalition airstrikes were dug by civilians recruited by the militants.
The tunnels were also dug by prisoners who were forced to do the hard labor after being found guilty according to IS laws.
IS militants also use drones to disrupt attacks launched by the SDF fighters in the neighborhoods of the city from the east and west sides.
On Tuesday, an SDF fighter told Kurdistan24 his group on the east side of Raqqa shot down a drone that was carrying explosives.
The SDF press office and social media reported their fighters had shot down about 10 drones in the last three weeks.
Two weeks ago, a Kurdistan24 correspondent was injured with two other journalists when a drone hovering in a neighborhood recently liberated by the SDF in eastern Raqqa dropped explosives near them.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany
(Additional reporting by Ekrem Saleh, a Kurdistan24 correspondent embedded with the SDF in Raqqa)