Will Agreement for Raqqa Evacuation Include ISIS?

Update 11 pm MT: Answer: Yes, foreign ISIS fighters are part of the agreement and will be able to leave Raqqa. Again, as stated below, the U.S. opposed this, preferring the foreign fighters be held accountable for their crimes.
Syrian and foreign ISIL fighters have agreed to leave their one-time bastion Raqqa under an agreement brokered by tribal leaders to prevent more civilian deaths in the city. Omar Alloush, an official of the Raqqa Civil Council, said a deal had been reached to allow fighters out of the city, which is on the verge of being captured by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) after months of heavy fighting.

"Foreign fighters are included in the deal," he said.

Alloush says the remaining ISIS fighters are holding 400 hundred civilian hostages at the National Hospital in Raqqa. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the last Syrian ISIS fighters left by bus today, and more buses are arriving tongight which are expected to take the foreign fighters and the families from Raqqa, most likely to Deir Ezzor [More...]

Original Post:

An agreement has been reached by the Raqqa City Council and Raqqa Tribal Elders for the evacuation of civilians from ISIS. Operation Inherent Resolve (the U.S. Coalition) issued this press release today saying it is concerned that the remaining ISIS members in Raqqa will also be allowed to leave. Approximately 100 surrendered in the past 24 hours.

The U.S. Coaliton was not involved in the discussions that led to the agreement. The Raqqa City Counsel has now released a statement stating Syrian ISIS fighters will be allowed to leave Raqqa with hostages, to ensure their safe passage.

It sounds like the "U.S. backed forces" and particularly the tribal elders are at odds with the U.S. over what to do with remaining ISIS fighters in Raqqa, and the U.S. did not get its way. There are only a few hundred ISIS fighters remaining in Raqqa, most having left for Deir Ezzor, and those remaining are also going to go to Deir-Ezzor. The Tribal Elders want them to have to leave Syria.

It's not clear what will happen to the remaining foreign ISIS fighters (rather than Syrian ISIS fighters who are being allowed to leave.)

Omar Alloush, an official from the Local Raqqa Council, confirmed the deal Saturday saying local fighters have been included in the evacuation. He didn't immediately comment on the number of evacuees. The deal was negotiated by the Raqqa Civilian Council and tribal leaders.

Deir-Ezzor is expected to be the final battle of ISIS in Syria. Of course, ISIS is now in the Philippines, Indonesia, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen and elswhere in Africa, so it's not like they will have been wiped off the planet. They will regroup, underground, and eventually return. In the meantime, al Qaida gets stronger.

From the New York Times:

Tribal chiefs are organizing a way for Syrian Islamic State fighters to leave the Syria city of Raqqa after the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces agreed to a proposal that would secure their departure, the chiefs said in a statement sent to Reuters by a member of Raqqa's civil council.

Saying their aim was to spare bloodshed, the tribal sheikhs said they had called on both the SDF and the U.S.-backed coalition fighting Islamic State to "settle the situation" of remaining Syrian fighters in the city, and to "secure their exit to areas outside the city with our guarantees".

The Middle East papers report negotiations are ongoing as to the foreign fighters.

Remaining Daesh fighters in Raqqa, including foreign fighters, would leave the city taking civilians with them as human shields under a deal which tribal elders from the area are seeking to broker, a local official told Reuters on Saturday.

"If it happens, it looks like it will be today - foreign and local (fighters)," Omar Alloush, a member of the Raqqa Civil Council, said, adding that the elders had already persuaded 100 Daesh fighters to surrender - something the remaining fighters had ruled out.

ISIS leaders long ago fled Raqqa, which is now in ruins and littered with "littered with mines and boobytraps."

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