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ISIS Suggests Handing over Raqqa in Exchange of Safe Exit | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Smoke rises from al-Mishlab district at Raqqa’s southeastern outskirts. (Reuters)

Beirut – The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) achieved on Saturday new advances in Raqqa by controlling new positions in the west, north and east of the city following fierce battles with ISIS militants.

Meanwhile, reports said a tribal delegation representing the terrorist organization in Raqqa was currently conducting talks with the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) in Tal Abyad to hand over the city in exchange of a safe exit of the militants.

Activists operating in Raqqa said: “A delegation from a tribal council linked to ISIS left the city of Raqqa on Friday to Ain Issa town to negotiate with SDF forces.”

Abu Mohammad al-Raqqawi, an activist in the Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently said on Saturday: “We have received information about ongoing talks taking place in the countryside of Tal Abyad between a delegation linked to ISIS and the PYD to discuss the possibility of stopping the attack on Raqqa.”

He asserted that the tribal delegation carries an initiative stipulating the handing over of the city to SDF forces in exchange for the safe exit ofmilitants from the city towards the Damascus suburbs and Deir Ezzor.

Separately, an uneasy calm prevailed on Saturday in the Syrian desert only hours after an announcement that regime forces and their affiliated groups have reached the Iraqi border.

However, Maghawir al-Thawra army denied those reports and asserted that Bashar Assad’s regime forces were still 40 kilometers away from al-Zakaf military camp. The army also accused the regime forces of coordinating with ISIS militants with an aim to reach the border.

A spokesperson from Maghawir al-Thawra told Asharq Al-Awsat: “We and the International Coalition have warned regime forces to stay 55 to 75 kilometers away from the camp or else they would be treated in the proper manner.”