Raqqa has been fully liberated, into the hands of the US backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
US backed SDF militias said on Friday that Raqqa will be part of a decentralized federal Syria now that the city has been freed from US-Saudi backed Islamic State.
This ties Raqqa to Kurdish plans to set up autonomous regions in the north of Syria. We are certain that Turkey will not be too pleased with this latest statement from the SDF.
The Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said the people of the majority Arab city and surrounding province would decide their own future “within the framework of a decentralized, federal democratic Syria”.
“We pledge to protect the frontiers of the province against all external threats,” the SDF said in a statement read out by its spokesman in central Raqqa, which was finally captured on Tuesday after four months of battles.
Kurdish-led authorities in other parts of northern Syria are already moving ahead with plans to establish the federal system in areas they control, kicking off a three-phase election process last month in Kurdish majority regions.
The plans for autonomous zones in northern Syria have encountered broad opposition from the United States, neighboring Turkey, and the Syrian government in Damascus.
The SDF, which is dominated by the Kurdish YPG militia, says it intends to hand control of Raqqa to a civil council and police force set up under its auspices with support from the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State.
President Bashar al-Assad, who is regaining territory with Iranian and Russian military support, has repeatedly said the Syrian state will recover control over the entire country, which has been fractured by six years of conflict.