US-led coalition forces have announced an evacuation deal has been reached with ISIS fighters within Raqqa, allowing the fighters to withdraw from their capital city and into other ISIS territory. US officials insist only Syrian ISIS members are included, and foreigners are forbidden from withdrawing.
The evacuation deal is sure to raise eyebrows, as the US loudly opposed evacuation deals negotiated by Syria with ISIS elsewhere in the country, demanding that all ISIS fighters be killed on the spot. It also undercuts past US claims that there would be no survivors.
The US claim that foreign ISIS fighters won’t be allowed to withdraw also appears to have been untrue, with local officials confirming that a number of foreign ISIS fighters have already left, and have taken civilians with them.
It’s not clear how many ISIS fighters remain in Raqqa, but it doesn’t appear that the battle for the city is over, with ISIS forces remaining in some small enclaves, and only some of the fighters within have agreed to withdraw.