A leader of a military Kurdish faction announced that the city of Raqqa will be annexed to the federal system that the Kurds established in northern Syria after it is liberated from ISIS. In statements quoted by the Russian news agency RIA Novosti, a representative of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) in Iraqi Kurdistan Gharib Hissou said that since the Syrian Democratic Forces are leading the operation to liberate Raqqa “it makes sense that after its recapture, the city will become a part of the democratic federal system created by the Kurds in northern Syria”.
This stance contradicts what the spokesman for the Syrian Democratic Forces Talal Slaw told Asharq Al-Awsat previously about Raqqa being handed over to Arab – Kurdish civilian administrations after it is liberated.
On his part, Samir Nashar, a member of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolution and Opposition told Asharq Al-Awsat that the opposition can see “exaggeration and outbidding that will lead to more tension between the Syrian parties” in the new statements.
Hours after Al-Fatisah, a town in the northern Raqqa countryside, was reclaimed, a Syrian Democratic Forces commander on the ground Hoker Kobani said “US forces are effectively participating in the battle and are using missiles to bomb cars that ISIS is using to target the Syrian Democratic Forces”.
In New York, the UN special envoy Staffan de Mistura yesterday announced that he does not intend to convene a new round of Syrian peace talks until after two or three weeks. De Mistura gave a presentation of what he has achieved in his mission so far to members of the Security Council via video, and said it is essential that progress is made with regards to the implementation of the ceasefire and the delivery of humanitarian aid before negotiations between the government and the armed opposition resume.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights announced yesterday that the number of those killed in Syria since the 18th of March 2011 has reached more than 282,000.