23 Sep 2014

Twitter users in Syria live tweet air strikes on Raqqa

Social media users in the Islamic State stronghold of Raqqa, Syria, are among the first to report US air strikes on the city. One told Channel 4 News that the west must consider civilian casualties.

Abdulkader Hariri, a resident in Syria, was among the first to tweet the “huge explosions” that “shook the city” when a coalition of US and its Middle Eastern allies started to hit targets in Syria for the first time.

The Pentagon press secretary says that a mix of fighter, bomber and Tomahawk land attack missiles were being used against IS militants in Syria.

The Twitter user, who is a local resident of Raqqa, said “The sky is full drones over Raqqa now” at 2:35am, a tweet that was retweeted by 1,200 people.

A Raqqa resident who wished to remain anonymous told Channel 4 News in recent weeks: “I noticed that the world recently think people of Raqqa are backing IS. It’s the contrary; many many oppose them.

“For every day we suffer under their control, days of terrible consequences are to follow.

“Keep us in your thoughts in case we get bombed under the banner of fighting those monsters.”

Channel 4 News also spoke to a man who calls himself “Hassan Mousa”, who says he is an activist based in Raqqa.

He said: “Our concerns are that there might be casualties among civilians when they start targeting Islamic State with missiles.

“The positions that were bombed are the mayor’s office, the ministry of finance, the national hospital at the outskirts of Raqqa and the military base of Bregare.

“The size of destruction is large. Many parts of the city were destroyed and it’s blazing, the communication tower near the city clock was downed.

“The strikes were not effective because they have been evacuating their headquarters for the last three days. They started that since the West was announced they will be struck.

“Since the bombing started the streets are empty there are a few people in the street. People are afraid on the inside but they try not to show it. They walk inside the city but with fear.”