Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

U.S.-led Liberation of Raqqa is Imminent and Will Exclude the Regime | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Beirut-The battle to liberate Raqqa, ISIS’ stronghold in Syria, is “imminent” after an amendment to the military plan was approved during a short visit made by head of U.S. central command Army Gen Joseph Votel to Syria on Saturday, informed Syrian sources confirmed on Sunday.

The sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that the operation will be American-led and that opposition forces in the northern Aleppo countryside and Syrian Democratic Forces (Kurdish) will participate in it.

A Kurdish source who spoke to Asharq Al-Awsat said both the U.S. and Kurdish sides did not want the regime to be involved in order to preserve the “legitimacy” of the attack. The source also confirmed the existence of “American-Russian coordination” to oust ISIS and expel it from Raqqa.

Meanwhile, the head of the Syrian opposition delegation Asaad Al-Zoubi expressed his concerns about the U.S. plan to coordinate with Russia in order to hand over Raqqa to the Kurds in the next few hours.

Whilst talking to Asharq Al-Awsat, he asked why the Free Syrian Army (FSA) or the many factions that belong to it were excluded from the liberation of Raqqa.

This acceleration on the ground coincides with fighting factions, including Jaysh Al-Islam and the Sham Legion, giving the two main sponsors of the ceasefire agreement (Washington and Moscow) 48 hours to save what is left of this agreement.

The factions are also demanding that the Assad regime and its allies completely and immediately stop the brutal attack carried out on the city of Darayya and areas of eastern Ghouta.

In a statement on Sunday, the factions said that they are seriously considering withdrawing from the political process which they described as “futile.”