On Sunday, a U.S led coalition aircraft began airstrikes against the Islamic State’s stronghold in Raqqa, eastern Syria. So far, the coalition states that this has been one of the most sustained aerial operations carried out in Syria to date.
At least 10 people have been killed and many others wounded according to the Islamic State. However, activists on the ground say that most of these were civilians, including a ten year old child, but this has not been fully confirmed as other reports say that it was solely ten militants. Although airstrikes have been common in Syria, residents of Raqqa were panicking at the intensity of the airstrikes on Sunday. The purpose of these intense airstrikes have been to destroy Islamic State vehicles and bridges which have been vital to the Islamic State to date. This will not only demobilize them for a little bit, but it also prevents the group from moving militarily throughout Syria and into Iraq.
Raqqa is also a vital target as it is currently the capital of the Islamic caliphate that the Islamic State wants to create. Therefore, Raqqa currently control Iraqi and Syrian territories.
Meanwhile, in the more remote north-eastern city of Hassake, Islamic State suicide bombers detonated a truck packed with explosives near a power plant on Sunday with numerous casualties. In Iraq, the government forces have been repelling Islamic States attacks on Haditha also on Sunday morning, with at least twenty militants being killed.
This increase in attacks against the Islamic State are good in some ways, and not good in others. In one way, it is demonstrating the way in which the rest of the world will no longer tolerate the Islamic State’s heinous actions, however, it is truly the residents of Raqqa and other Islamic State held territories in Syria and Iraq that are feeling the brunt of the airstrikes. Not only are they being killed and wounded by the presence of the Islamic State and actions taken by the Islamic State, but they are also the casualties of attacks meant to dismantle the Islamic State.