Syrian Democratic Forces accuse Assad regime of trying to hinder Raqqa campaign

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Officers of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) monitoring a recently established military camp in western Raqqa. Photo: ARA News

ARA News

Leading members of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on Sunday held a meeting with officials of the US-led coalition and discussed the Assad regime’s threats on the federal border, and discussed the future of Raqqa after ISIS is defeated.

The meeting was attended by officials of the US State Department, and the commander of the US special forces in northern Syria.

The meeting included local officials such as Ilham Ahmed, the joint co-head of the Syrian Democratic Council (SDC), SDF spokespersons Jihan Sheikh Ahmed and Talal Silo, and Layla Mustafa, the co-head of the Raqqa Civilian Council, besides the two co-Chairs of the Tabqa Council, and Idris Mohammed, head of the Internal Security Forces in Raqqa.

The meeting focused on the challenges facing Raqqa after its liberation on all levels, including security, governance, and economy. Moreover, the goal was to form a common vision on the future of the alliance between the US-led coalition and the SDF-affiliated forces and governance bodies.

The officials also discussed interventions of regional countries and attempts by the Syrian regime to obstruct the Raqqa campaign. “This was one of the most important challenges that must be addressed,” SDF officials told the coalition.

“Therefore, the international coalition must do what it has to do to deter the Syrian regime in its violations on the federal border.”

The meeting also discussed the security of post-liberation Raqqa, and the institutionalization of local police forces in cooperation with the US-led coalition.

The coalition is coordinating with Russia to prevent attempts by the Syrian government to hinder the Raqqa campaign.

“Syrian regime forces are very close to the area that our forces 9US-backed SDF) are operating in, and we actually had an incident on June 18th in which our forces shot down a Syrian jet that violated an agreement that we had on the ground of where they could go and where they could not go,” coalition envoy Brett McGurk said on Friday.

“Since then, we have drawn what we call a deconfliction line with the Russians to help accelerate the campaign in Raqqa and to basically make clear where their forces will be and where our forces will be,” he said.

“This has held extremely well. This is now in place. Our military personnel speak with the Russians every day, and we, of course, have diplomatic consultations on issues like this far less frequently but whenever we need to,” he concluded.

While the SDF forces are liberating Raqqa neighbourhood by neighbourhood, Syrian regime-backed tribal forces and the Syrian army are pushing ISIS back south of Raqqa.

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg | Source: ARA News

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