March 31, 2017

How the US should approach ISIS’ human shield strategy in Raqqah

Featuring Nicholas Heras

Source: AirTalk

Journalist Larry Mantle

As local ground forces supported by U.S. led airstrikes close in on two of the Islamic State’s urban holds, Raqqa in Syria and Mosul in Iraq, there’s growing concern over how the U.S. will approach ISIS’s strategy of using human shields.

Civilian casualties have been a recent topic of controversy in the battle for Mosul, with Amnesty International saying the coalition didn’t take enough precautions in recent strikes, while others claim the moral responsibility for the deaths lies with ISIS.

We look ahead to the coming battle in Raqqa, where a win for the coalition would mean the destruction of ISIS’s main base in northern Syria. Currently, an estimated 300,000 residents are trapped there, used as human shields by the Islamic State. All men in the city have been forced to wear jihadi clothing, so it’s difficult to differentiate between civilians and militants.  

Listen at KPCC.


  • Nicholas Heras

    Former Fellow, Middle East Security Program

    Nicholas A. Heras is a former Fellow at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), working in the Middle East Security Program. His work focused on the analysis of complex...