Islamic State militants kill 11 people from the same family in Raqqa

Ziheye Xelef from Raqqa lost 11 family members in a mortar attack by Islamic State militants in northern Raqqa. (ANHA)

A family who lost 11 members to an Islamic State (IS) attack recently have reached areas controlled by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

The Arab family tried to flee the IS-held Raqqa but were prevented at a checkpoint and forced to return but instead travelled to Salihiye, an area 1 km north of the city.

Here the family were targeted with mortars fired by IS militants, killing 11 and wounding four.

The mother of the family, Ziheye Xelef, speaking to local Hawar news agency in tears said she had lost almost all her family including her 15-year-old daughter Renim, her 13-year-old son Mihemed and her husband Ibrahim Xelef.

“We couldn’t escape them [IS]. My children, my husband, mother, father, cousin’s children died in front of me. I fainted. When I opened my eyes I was at a hospital in Gire Spi [Tell Abyad].”

Ziheye Xelef’s sister in hospital in Tell Abyad.

According to the report SDF fighters took the woman, her sister and 10-year-old twin daughters to the hospital after clearing the area from the jihadist group.

One of Ziheye Xelef’s twin daughters.

The multi-ethnic SDF launched the Operation Wrath of Euphrates in November 2016 to capture Raqqa from the jihadist group and have circled the city from the north, east and west. The final phase of the operation into the centre of Raqqa is expected to start in the coming weeks.