Syria: Damascus to Seize Control over Raqqa Soon
“The province (of Raqqa) will soon rejoin the motherland by the Syrian Army troops’ assistance,” Deputy Secretary-General of the Syria’s Ba’ath Party Hilal Hilal said without elaborating on whether Damascus forces will engage in clashes with the SDF or not.
Relevant reports said earlier today that the SDF raised hostilities against Damascus after it declared that it won’t hand over control of Raqqa city to the central government.
The SDF said on Friday that the political future of Raqqa city and province would be determined “within the framework of a decentralized, federal, democratic Syria.”
SDF Spokesman Talal Silo said the group would hand over the control of the city to what he called “the Raqqa Civil Council,” likely a Kurdish body.
Syrian Minister of National Reconciliation Affairs Ali Haidar reacted by saying that Raqqa’s future could only be discussed “as part of the final political structure of the Syrian state.”
The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), meanwhile, said that the SDF’s purported operations in Raqqa have killed civilians and damaged infrastructure in the city.
“When you’re killing around 1,200 civilians — nearly half of them women and children — and destroying 80 percent of the city, that’s not liberating Raqqa,” Rami Abdel Rahman, the head of the SOHR, told Arab News daily.
Local sources said on Tuesday that the SDF drove ISIL out of more regions in the Northeastern Raqqa city, imposing full control over the city.
The sources said that the SDF hunted the remaining pockets of ISIL gunmen and seized full control over Raqqa city.
They added that the SDF further started defusing bombs and landmines planted by the ISIL in the city.
Talal Silo said at the time that the military operation in Raqqa ended, but the SDF forces would continue their cleansing operation to hunt the ISIL gunmen that were hidden in the region and to defuse bombs and landmines in the city.