Thursday, April 13, 2017

Raqqa may become part of the Kurdish autonomous area of Syria when liberated

The northern city of Raqqa now occupied by the Islamic State (IS) is expected to become part of a decentralized Kurdish-run system of government, once it is liberated, according to a leading Kurdish politician.

Raqqa, on the Euphrates is the Islamic State's main urban base left in Syria but is under siege by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) an alliance of Kurds with some Arabs. The YPG a Syrian Kurdish militia already controls considerable territory in northern Syria and Kurdish groups are working to establish a form of decentralized government in Kurdish-controlled areas. Turkey considers the YPG a terrorist group and the development is causing alarm in Turkey. Turkey is angry that the US is supporting the Kurds. They consider the YPG simply an extension of Kurdish groups they are fighting within Turkey..
Saleh Muslim co-chair of the Syrian Kurdish PYD party said although it would be up to the people of Raqqa what the future of the city should be once it is liberated from the IS, he thought the city would join the "democratic federal' system. Muslim said in a telephone interview:"We expect (this) because our project is for all Syria ... and Raqqa can be part of it. Our only concern is that the people of Raqqa are the ones who take the decision on everything." The Kurdish system was never negotiated with the Assad regime. The US is backing Kurdish forces in the area. Turkey objects to having a de facto Kurdish government in northern Syria and will be even angrier if the US helps the Kurds extend the territory under their control. The Turks have already invaded part of northern Syria west of the Euphrates clearing the Islamic State from the border area. They insist that Kurds should stay east of the Euphrates.
The Kurds may have trouble convincing locals that they should join the Kurdish federated system: " But while the YPG had an alliance with some local Raqqa resistance forces aimed at expelling ISIS at the start of the military offensive, many of those opposition factions have cut ties with the Kurds, complaining that the YPG is trying to dictate terms to them. That might hurt their attempt at selling Raqqa on joining the autonomous region, though they may not be given a choice at any rate. " Meanwhile fighting has resumed at the Tabqa dam about 25 miles upstream even though the IS has put out dire warnings that the dam is in danger of collapse. US forces dismiss the warnings. It is always possible that the IS could decide to sabotage the dam.


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