ISIS attempts to build bridges, literal and metaphorical, in A-Raqqa


March 27, 2014

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HEARTS AND MINDS? A picture making the rounds on Twitter on Wednesday purportedly shows the early stages of ISIS rebuilding the Euphrates Bridge, built in A-Raqqa province in 1942 by British forces during their advance on Iraq through Syria.

Regime forces shelled the bridge on Monday with airstrikes, destroying a part of the bridge as a result.

The bridge is the single connection between the provincial capital and the villages in Southern Raqqa province. Its destruction will add an additional burden on residents by adding hours of travel time to secure food and other provisions.

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ISIS also published the aftermath of their attack on the Shiite Uwais al-Qarani’s shrine in A-Raqqa, part of their Sunni mission to block Syrians from worshipping shrines and idols.

Activists said that the shrine was funded by Iran in order to attract Shiite visitors, similar to those in Damascus.

Hezbullah considers the destruction of the Umar bin Yasser shrine and the Uwais al-Qarani shrine in A-Raqqa “a new crime” committed by the armed forces of al-Qaeda in Syria.

In a similar context, Turkish forces continue to cautiously monitor ISIS movements around the Shiite Sultan Shah grave in Outer Aleppo and continue to emphasize that they will interfere if ISIS damages the shrine.

The Local Coordination Committees said Thursday that a war plane shelled the city of Tabaqah in Raqqah with heavy artillery.

A-Raqqa province is the only one of Syria’s 14 provinces in the hands of rebels, and was taken over by Jubhat a-Nusra, the Islamic Front and Ahrar a-Sham on March 4th, 2013.

It has since come under the control of ISIS and has been re-named the State of A-Raqqa as of January 10th of this year.

-By Mohammed Ali Al Haj Ali and Kristen Gillespie on March 27, 2014

Photo courtesy of ISIS/A-Raqqa.

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