In October 2017, alongside local allies, the US-led coalition liberated Raqqa, ushering in a new, yet fragile, phase in the international effort to stabilize Syria. For years, the city, which had a pre-war population of 220,000, stood as the capital–and symbol–of ISIS. Its citizenry was brutalized, its buildings were devastated, it’s schools were shuttered, and its once boisterous soccer stadium was transformed into an execution site where the terrorist organization dispensed its draconian form of justice.
With the street fighting mostly over, Raqqa’s population is now in dire need of humanitarian assistance. According to US troops on the ground, the city’s infrastructure has been reduced to rubble, medical care is sparse, and supplies of food and drinking water are critically short. Of those needs, ensuring the population has access to safe drinking water is the highest priority. Tainted water spreads disease and creates a public health crisis in a city ill-equipped to handle it.
Left unaddressed, the humanitarian emergency in Raqqa puts the coalition’s hard-earned gains at risk. Hateful ideologies, such as the one espoused by ISIS, often take hold in war-weary populations. Not adequately aiding the war-ravaged citizens of Raqqa will undoubtedly give ISIS and other terrorist organizations room to reconstitute themselves.
In a recent visit to Raqqa, the commander of Central Command, General Joseph Votel, who oversees military operations across the Middle East, warned that the consolidation phase of the conflict will be more difficult than the fighting. He stressed that the key to long-term success is “taking care of people” and “removing the conditions that lead to things like insurgency and lead to instability.”
Heeding this call, SoA is working with the coalition on the ground in Raqqa to improve the humanitarian situation and deny extremist organizations the space to return.
SoA is raising funds to provide 340 family-supporting water filtration systems. With your support, we can alleviate human suffering and help pave the way for stability in the region.