Hundreds of security forces trained to protect Raqqa city in post-ISIS era

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A training camp for the Self-Defense forces of the Auto-Administration in Syria's northeastern Hasakah province. Photo: ARA News

ARA News

The Raqqa Internal Security Force graduated an additional 230 new members this week with support of the US-led coalition.

“Their training in basic arms proficiency, first aid, the Law of Armed Conflict, and screening and checkpoint procedures is allowing them to assume responsibility for security for more people and areas as the SDF pushes deeper into the city,” coalition spokesperson Colonel Ryan Dillon said.

“Throughout cleared areas of the city, the Raqqa Internal Security Forces, otherwise known as the RISF, a local volunteer counter-ISIS force comprised mostly of Arabs, continues to take on the role of providing order and preventing the escape of, or return of, terrorists,” he added.

In total there are 850 RISF members of the Raqqa Internal Security Force.

“That number currently stands at about 850, and that is including this new 230 that have come aboard,” the coalition spokesperson said.

“There have been a desire, and there are a lot of passionate people who have wanted to join the ranks of the Raqqa Internal Security Force, and we are continuing to vet them and train them so that they can provide security for their neighborhoods and prevent ISIS from coming back to these areas that have been liberated,” Colonel Dillon added.

The Coalition began training the first class of the 50 RISF police forces on May 17. The RISF is a vetted local Syrian Arab Coalition force selected to serve as a holding force to guard liberated areas in Raqqa Province against ISIS attacks.

“The Coalition wants a competent, professional security force to have authority in Raqqa from Day 1 after ISIS,” Washington-based analyst Nicholas A. Heras, Bacevich Fellow at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), told ARA News.

“Coalition training not only can make these forces effective in providing physical security, but to also act professionally and with respect for the local population,” he said.

“This move shows that the US-led Coalition wants to do Raqqa right, and to provide a secure environment for the local people that will preempt any need for an alternate authority to administer the security of the city,” Heras told ARA News.

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg | Source: ARA News

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