Middle East

US-led airdrops shower leaflets over Islamic State territory

In this photo released on Jan. 6, 2015, by a militant website, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, an Islamic State militant, center, speaks to youths during a street preaching event at Tel Abyad town in Raqqa province, northeast Syria. (Militant website via AP)

BEIRUT: A U.S.-led coalition dropped new leaflets over the de facto capital of the Islamic State group in Syria, promising those below that "freedom will come" to the region, activists said Sunday.

An anti-Islamic State group called Raqqa is Being Silently Slaughtered and the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the leaflets had drawings showing dead extremists and their flag turned upside down. Four fighters with the main Kurdish militia, the People's Protection Units, or YPG, walked down a street in the picture, with two words in Arab below: "Freedom will come."

The latest leaflet drop comes as YPG fighters have been advancing in northern Syria as close as 50 kilometers (30 miles) north of Raqqa.

Coalition warplanes have dropped such leaflets in the past. One previous had a cartoon showing masked Islamic State extremists at a "hiring office" feeding people into a meat grinder.

Also Sunday, the extremists gave Internet cafes in Raqaa four days to stop offering wireless Internet connections to nearby homes, the Observatory and Raqqa is Being Silently Slaughtered said. The move comes two weeks after extremists released a video purporting to show the killing of two Syrian men in Raqqa, allegedly for spying.

The Islamic State group holds about a third of Syria and neighboring Iraq in its self-declared "caliphate."

On Friday, a truck bombing by the group in Iraq's eastern Diyala province killed 115 people at a crowded market. Authorities there have fired the local police chief and three officers, while two others are being investigated, said senior Iraqi police officials speaking on condition of anonymity Sunday as they weren't authorized to talk to journalists.

 

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