Retired General: Only Syrian Army Can Seize Back Raqqa


The military operations by the US-back militants to win back Raqqa is just a political gesture and the Syrian army is the only military force that can take back the self-proclaimed capital of the ISIL, a retired general and senior military strategist said.

“The Raqqa operations by the US-backed forces that is done at the same time that the terrorist groups are being defeated in the Aleppo operations is a major political tactic by Washington,” retired Syrian Army General Ali Maqsoud told FNA on Wednesday.

He underlined that no one except the Syrian army and its allies can seize back control of Raqqa from the ISIL.

“Everyone was talking about the difficulties of the Raqqa battle and the need to prepare the conditions to set it off at a proper time and everyone believed that the operation could be conducted only after thorough studies, but everything suddenly changed without any specific reason and they rushed to stage this operation,” Maqsoud added, stating that the US is the driving force behind the rush in conducting the assault for the sake political gains.

In relevant remarks on Tuesday, a Kurdish member of the Syrian parliament rapped the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) for coordination with the US to retake the ISIL’s self-proclaimed capital of Raqqa, describing it as Washington’s plot.

“The SDF forces’ operation to take back Raqqa from ISIL in coordination with the western coalition, led by the US, is a strategic mistake with negative impacts on the Syrian Kurds,” Omar Ousi, also chairman of the National Initiative of Syrian Kurds, said in an interview with al-Watan newspaper.

“The US is not serious about annihilation of the ISIL in Syria since the ISIL still plays a role in the US plots to redraw the region’s geopolitical map,” he added.

Noting that the US will betray the Syrian Kurds and will strengthen ties with Turkey, Ousi said, “The only safe way for the Syrian Kurds is the resistance front and coordination in joint operation rooms with the Syrian army and their allies from Iran, Russia and the Lebanese Hezbollah group.”

His remarks came after senior member of the Syrian Democratic Council Rizan Hado underlined that the Kurdish forces fighting to liberate Raqqa have not counted on the US-led coalition’s support and only rely on their own capabilities, adding that they also have enough power to confront any possible Turkish aggression.

“Any attempt by Turkey to make an aggression against Manbij will certainly impede liberation of Raqqa and we will not remain silent. Our priority is confronting Turkey’s aggression against Manbij. The ball is now in the coalition’s court and its seriousness will be shown in forcing the Turks to withdraw from the region,” Hado said on Monday.

Certain dissident sources in Syria have also disclosed Turkey’s new scenario to further expand the Euphrates Shield operation after it was excluded from the Raqqa operation under pressure from the Kurdish sides.

Meantime, the battle in al-Bab which is still under the ISIL occupation is important for the Kurdish forces.

Certain sources affiliated to the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) underlined that “we have established our position in al-Bab battle, and if Turkey continues attacks and approaches the town, we will take action”.

SDF Spokesman Talal Sallo said that the coalition has not accepted to support the al-Bab military council in operations to liberate the town.

Meantime, Hado also welcomed any move by the Syrian army towards al-Bab, and expressed the hope that operations to retake Raqqa would be carried out in coordination with the Syrian army and a similar scenario like what was played in Mosul would be repeated in Raqqa.

In relevant remarks on Saturday, Sallo announced that the US-led coalition is due to play no role in the imminent operation to liberate Syria’s Raqqa city from the ISIL terrorist group.

“The liberation operation of Raqqa will start soon. The US-led coalition will play no role in Raqqa operation, but they have vowed to only supply the SDF with equipment. They will also dispatch their military advisors with the combat forces for coordination and advice,” the SDF spokesman said.

The US-led coalition also said that over 40,000 SDF fighters are ready to attack ISIL positions in Raqqa.

The Kurdish sources also said that the SDF is coordinating with the Syrian Army to launch a joint anti-ISIL operation in Aleppo.

A military source said on Saturday that the Syrian army’s Special Forces are getting ready to start an operation in Aleppo to liberate the town of Deir Hafer from ISIL, while SDF fighters are preparing to launch an offensive to push terrorists back from the town of al-Bab in Aleppo.

Military analysts believe that after the liberation of Deir Hafer and al-Bab, the SDF and Syrian Army will push towards Raqqa.

The SDF announced on Friday that they have a plan to carry out a major assault on Raqqa to take back the city from the ISIL without any assistance from Turkey.

Sallo asserted that his forces do not plan on coordinating with the Turkish Army to liberate the city of Raqqa.

“The issue of Turkey’s partnership came under discussion with the (US-led) coalition and resolved definitively. There will be no Turkish participation in the Raqqa operation,” he said.

“We are ready. We have the sufficient number of fighters for this campaign and we will start it soon,” Sallo added.


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