In response to the declaration that the northern Syrian city of Raqqa has been retaken from ISIS, Refugees International urges all forces and authorities in the newly-liberated area to make the protection and rights of civilians their highest priority.
The people of Raqqa have suffered for years from conflict and limited humanitarian aid. Now is the time to allow and facilitate full access by humanitarian assistance providers to all of those in need. This includes people who will likely remain in nearby displacement camps and informal settlements for the long term while Raqqa is made safe for civilian return. More than a quarter of a million people have been displaced in the province, and those who remained in the city are no less vulnerable.
Refugees International reminds all international donors, policymakers, and officials that while ridding the city of ISIS may help stem some of the humanitarian crisis, humanitarian needs will continue and should be a primary focus in the recovery and reconstruction effort in the immediate area and of the country more broadly.
Top photo: A fighter of Syrian Democratic Forces gestures the "V" sign at the frontline in Raqqa, Syria October 16, 2017. REUTERS/Rodi Said