Raqqa - capital of the Isis caliphate
But also following paragraph in the article does not surprise me (I highlighted in bold the essence):
"When warplanes belonging to President Bashar al-Assad killed scores of residents last week, repeatedly targeting heavily populated areas of the city, Isis and its battery of anti-aircraft and missile defences did not fire a single round. The lack of response further enraged Raqqa’s inhabitants towards the extremists, according to witnesses."
Indeed, as I mentioned before, I think Isis and Assad are closer than we may think although of course I have no proof and can be completely wrong (therefore we need intelligence agencies to find out). I even mentioned in my article of 13/09/2014:
"In addition, Assad's army seems not to have attacked the city Raqqa (3), Isis's main centre, while the army attacked other groups closer to Aleppo (a main centre of opposition against Assad). For me, another indication it may be part of Assad's strategy to regain power as Isis may weaken the strength of other opposition groups such as the FSA (Free Syrian Army) as it seems they oppose each other."And thus now that Assad is attacking, I should think that Assad is indeed fighting Isis. But, the first quote shows he may not because why are Isis fighters not fighting back? Indeed, according to the Guardian article, those Isis psychopaths seem to kill many people directly (via executions) but also indirectly (via not providing food or good medical services), increasing the anger of people against Isis. And thus it almost seems as if Assad is allowed to destroy the city and attack its civilians but as long as he doesn't attack Isis fighters, they will not resist the Syrian armies attacks and people may even turn to Isis for protection against Assad's attacks while any casualties due to Western strikes may also anger people (of course, it is also possible that Isis is too weak to fight back). And that something is wrong shows this quote in the Guardian article from a Raqqa citizen:
"Among their latest plea to the international community are calls for the US-led coalition to thwart air strikes by the Syrian government by imposing a no-fly zone above the city."Why are people not applauding efforts by their government to destroy their opponents (unless the government is considered by many to be worse than Isis)? If Assad was really attacking Isis, why does it seem he didn't target Isis locations but instead attacked the most populated areas? Indeed, anger towards their president will increase in that city but also towards Isis for not defending the people while elsewhere in the country people may think Assad is defending them (maybe he does). Of course, if Isis may shoot down one Syrian plane after which the Syrian airstrikes stop, then Isis can claim it protects the people. (Will it all become that evil? And will I ever again be able to thrust people?).
In Wikipedia I read:
"Since May 2013, ISIS has been increasing its control over the city, at the expense of the Free Syrian Army and the Al-Nusra Front. ISIS has executed Alawites and suspected supporters of Bashar al-Assad in the city and attacked the city's Shia mosques and Christian churches such as the Armenian Catholic Church of the Martyrs, which has since been converted into an ISIS headquarters."This again shows that Isis is not so bad for Assad as Isis weakens many of Assad's opponents. And people who fight against Isis: are they supporters of Assad or maybe opponents of Isis? In addition, people can always be dressed in uniforms to look like Syrian soldiers or they can be stripped so they look like everyone so people believe soldiers are killed while in reality they may be from the opposition. But of course, maybe Isis is really fighting against Syrian soldiers and I am wrong.
Still, the brutality of Isis may one day have the Syrian people turn against them so they look for protection by Assad while some Western governments are trying to weaken Isis with bombardments although still oppose helping Assad. But one day, if Isis continues to grow, governments may join Assad in 'his' battle against Isis and keep him in power. Then, ordinary Isis fighters will be destroyed although many fighters may also join the Syrian army while Assad can remain in power and we may even honour him for destroying Isis (while it was him who supported jihadists in the past). Then we may condemn the other opposition groups for having brought chaos in the country and even help Assad to fight them in order to prevent that another extremist group will rise.
The Middle-East, a shithole that causes troubles to the whole world because many civilisations originate from that region and thus feel involved. In whatever direction one moves, new difficulties continue to appear. If only Russia and China would not block every UN solution but as long as they support dictators there can't be a solution until they get involved.
Don't forget, evil changes position as it deems necessary to remain in power and uses whatever means (look at the pictures in the Guardian article how children are indoctrinated to fight for Isis; it is such an evil it even employs children). A well-known example is Hitler who, after he didn't need the SA any longer, ordered their destruction by their replacement the SS so he gained even more power. What is a human life worth if it may block total power? Still, maybe Assad is really trying to protect his people against the evil forces of Isis and other groups. After all, before becoming president of Syria, he was a physician who helped people.