Syria Daily: Kurdish-Led SDF Claims Capture of Raqqa’s Old City

7
1462
Damaged buildings in the old city of Raqqa, August 19, 2017 (Zohra Bensemra/Reuters)

The US-backed, Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces claim they have captured Raqqa’s Old City from the Islamic State, but some observers said fighting continues in the area.

The SDF, which began the assault on the city in early June but had been held up for weeks after breaching the Old City walls, said on Friday that the takeover was complete.

However, the US military was more cautious, as clashes were reported in the Bosaira neighborhood. Spokesman Col. Ryan Dillon said:

The SDF are making great progress around the city centre and throughout Raqqa and gain more ground every day. The SDF are the best source for operational updates on their progress in the fight to defeat ISIS in Raqqa.

Raqqa has been the central position of the Islamic State in Syria since 2014. With its loss and ISIS retreats before multiple attacks elsewhere — by the SDF, led by the Kurdish militia YPG; by pro-Assad forces; and by rebels — the group will now be largely based in Deir ez-Zor Province in eastern Syria.

Airwars said last week that more than 1,700 civilians have probably been killed in Raqqa Province since March by US airstrikes and artillery. It said, “A minimum of 860 civilians, including 150 children, are credibly reported to have been killed in Raqqa since the official start of operations to capture the city on June 6.”

ISIS Convoy Still Stranded in Desert

Meanwhile, an Islamic State convoy of more than 600 fighters and relatives is still stranded, after its path to Deir ez-Zor was blocked by US warplanes.

The convoy of buses and ambulances set off on Monday from southwestern Syria, after ISIS was removed by positions on both sides of the Syria-Lebanon border by linked offensives of Hezbollah and of the Lebanese Army. Two days later, the US carried out airstrikes to crater roads and attacked individual ISIS vehicles trying to reach the convoy.

Spokesman Dillon said yesterday, “The convoy has not met up with ISIL elements in eastern Syria,” Col Dillon said. “We will continue to strike ISIL vehicles and fighters who attempt to unite with their fellow terrorists and will continue to disrupt the ISIL convoy from moving east.”

The Assad regime’s military insisted that a route is still being sought for the convoy, now near Sukhna in eastern Homs Province, to reach al-Bukamal close to the Iraq border.

De Mistura: Elections Possible Within Year

UN envoy Staffan de Mistura said that he expects ISIS’s defeat in Raqqa and in Deir ez-Zor Province by the end of October. , with elections to follow with a year to establish a political resolution.

De Mistura’s conditioned his optimism on a gesture by Bashar al-Assad, saying that lasting peace, reconstruction, and the return of millions of refugees will not be possible with a unilateral military victory for the forces supporting the ruler:

After Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor – and that is a matter of a few months – there will be a moment of truth. If the international community helps both the opposition and the government by pushing [them] to accept a real negotiation, then within a year it would be a possibility of having a truly credible election….

Do we want to reconstruct Syria and who will be paying for it? Only an inclusive, political, credible solution will allow that reconstruction and that will be through elections.

He again called on the main Syrian opposition to accept union with smaller factions, backed by Russia, so negotiations can proceed.

The envoy is hoping to reconvene two weeks of political talks in Geneva in October.

Related Posts

7 COMMENTS

  1. Arabs, Kurds unite against IS, but post-victory? ‘God knows’
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/arabs-kurds-unite-against-is-but-post-victory-god-knows/2017/09/03/64d625aa-908f-11e7-8482-8dc9a7af29f9_story.html 9/3/2017

    Intel Chief Lahur Talabani […] head of the Iraqi Kurdish region’s intelligence and counter-terror agency, Zanyari—the Iraqi Kurdish equivalent of the CIA. […]

    For Talabani, the real danger now is the lack of a strategy to counter the Daesh ideology.

    “History will repeat if decision-makers, whether in the coalition, Iraq or regional countries, do not devise a viable post-Daesh plan. This plan must be implemented side by side with the military engagement. The group must be defeated politically as well. Right now, there is no effective effort in place to fight the ideology,” he says.
    https://milletpress.com/Detail_EN.aspx?Jiamre=2015&T=%E2%80%8BLahur%20Shiekh%20Jangi:%20Without%20Post-ISIS%20Plan,%20History%20Will%20Repeat%20Itself%20in%20Iraq%20and%20Syria 11/25/2016

    Saudi textbooks have long been a target of criticism from the United States for their negative portrayal of Jews, Christians, Shiites and other Muslim sects, and for what some have seen as a glorification of jihadist violence. The Saudi authorities have spent years revising the texts, but American officials say problems remain. A two-part study of Saudi textbooks commissioned by the State Department and conducted by the International Center for Religion and Diplomacy, a Washington research group, was finished in 2013 but was never released for fear of angering Saudi officials. The New York Times obtained a copy under the Freedom of Information Act.
    https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/08/17/international-home/document-state-dept-study-on-saudi-textbooks.html 8/17/2016

  2. 400 teachers from Raqqa and Ayn Îsa complete training cycle
    https://anfenglish.com/news/400-teachers-from-raqqa-and-ayn-Isa-complete-training-cycle-21837 8/31/2017

    New school textbooks printed in #Kurdish, #Arabic and #Syriac language in #Rojava #NorthernSyria #Education #DemocraticConfederalism https://t.co/IoCq8jGLmg
    https://twitter.com/Rojava_Society/status/900709689075396608 8/24/2017

    Under the banner of ”The individual for the service of society, and society for the service of the individual”, The House of Cooperatives in Qamishlo [Qamişlo / Qamishli / Al-Qamishli] has distributed flyers to introduce people to cooperative societies, explain how they work, and to strengthen the relationship between people and cooperatives.
    https://cooperativeeconomy.info/introducing-the-people-of-north-syria-to-cooperatives/ 9/2/2017

  3. Anti-imperialist pro-kurdish fanboys justifiying the destruction of Raqqa city with exaclty the same arguments leftists used to deplore when were used by israeli forces to explain the leveling of Gaza.

    Thomas Claesson‏ @thomasisaby 6h6 hours ago

    Replying to @Raqqa_SL

    …..by Daesh making installing fighting positions and tunnels in n on top of
    family homes, mosques and med clinics. Usual jihadi conduct..

Leave a Comment