BEIRUT (AP) — A U.S.-led coalition dropped new leaflets over the de facto capital of the Islamic State group in Syria, promising those below that “freedom will come” to the region, activists said Sunday.
An anti-Islamic State group called Raqqa is Being Silently Slaughtered and the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the leaflets had drawings showing dead extremists and their flag turned upside down. Four fighters with the main Kurdish militia, the People’s Protection Units, or YPG, walked down a street in the picture, with two words in Arabic below translated as “Freedom will come.”
The latest leaflet drop comes as YPG fighters have been advancing in northern Syria as close as 50 kilometers (30 miles) north of Raqqa.
Coalition warplanes have dropped such leaflets in the past. A previous one had a cartoon showing masked Islamic State extremists at a “hiring office” feeding people into a meat grinder.
Also Sunday, the extremists gave Internet cafes in Raqaa four days to stop offering wireless Internet connections to nearby homes, the Observatory and Raqqa is Being Silently Slaughtered said. The move comes two weeks after extremists released a video purporting to show the killing of two Syrian men in Raqqa, allegedly for spying.
The Islamic State group holds about a third of Syria and neighboring Iraq in its self-declared “caliphate.”
On Friday, a truck bombing by the group in Iraq’s eastern Diyala province killed 115 people at a crowded market. Authorities there have fired the local police chief and three officers, while two others are being investigated, said senior Iraqi police officials speaking on condition of anonymity Sunday as they weren’t authorized to talk to journalists.
Meanwhile in Iraq on Sunday, a series of bombings killed at least eight people and wounded about two dozen others.
In Diyala on Sunday, a roadside bomb killed four people and wounded nine near the Diyala Bridge, southeast of the capital, police said.
In al-Ameen, a district in east Baghdad, police said two people were killed and eight wounded when a roadside bomb detonated near a busy cafe, police said. And in the Baghdad suburb of Nahrawan, two people were killed and six wounded when a bomb exploded on a busy commercial street.
Hospital officials corroborated the deaths. All spoke on the condition of anonymity as they are not authorized to brief journalists.
No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks, but the Islamic State militant group often is behind such attacks in and around the capital as it seeks to destabilize Iraq’s Shiite-led government.
Associated Press writer Qassim Abdul-Zahra in Baghdad contributed to this report.
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