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In Syria, ISIL has lost control of Raqqa which was the capital of its
state while Peshmerga Forces, control most of city. The Kurds are
allied with the Syrian Democratic Forces. However, the city has been
devastated by the impact of the siege as 3000 bombs were dropped on
the city since January, devastating schools, hospitals and residential
In mid-October, the humanitarian REACH initiative estimated that
less than one percent of the city’s 300,000 pre-war population
remained in the city. The remaining residents have no electricity or
portable water, and the city’s last functioning bakery was obliterated
due the impact of the bombs.
Earlier on Tuesday, the SDF said they had killed 22 fighters as they
captured the city hospital, being used by IS as its headquarters. The
US-backed SDF said that they had killed 22 fighters as they captured
the city hospital, being used by ISIL as its headquarters. The US-
backed SDF is made up mainly of Kurdish fighters, but also Arab and
other militias. It has been battling since June to take the capital of
ISIL’s self-proclaimed caliphate, where the terror group would
command military operations and foreign terror plots, and carry out
brutal public executions.
The capture of Raqqa is a remarkable achievement by Syrian Forces,
as it signals a setback for ISIL’ leader Abu-Bakr Al-Baghdadi. The
success of the US backed SDF also means that this will be a game
changer to remove current Syrian President Bashir Al Assad from
power unless Russia continues its air strikes. However, for the people
of this city, the horror of living under a militant group’s rule, the end
of the siege and the successful infiltration by Kurdish forces has
proven to be a relief.
Damascus no doubt wants a role in determining the administration
and social improvement of Raqqa. Although the SDF hasn’t yet
openly gone against the administration’s forces they oppose they are
still involved in bloody clashes more recently.
According to (Noah) Bonsey, while it is unlikely that the regime with
have a military presence in Raqqa after its capture, it may pay for
some services or state employee salaries, as it has done in other areas
under YPG/ PYD control. The RCC has already agreed to use regime-
printed textbooks in schools in areas under its control.
So cooperation between SDF and Assad’s government will continue.
Whether this will translate into any meaningful moves towards peace
and stability in the country remains to be seen. The Raqqa Civilian
Council (RCC) and the Raqqa Provincial Council (RPC) was set up
by the Kurdish armed group, the YPG to take control of the region
following the ouster of ISIL. The new administration that was set up
by these groups also has the backing of the Syrian National Coalition
Meanwhile Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi has been revealed to still be alive,
however it remains unclear if the ISIL leader has planned to recapture
the lost territory in the regions of Iraq and Syria. However, since
Bagdhadi proclaimed his “Caliphate”, he has sent a message that ISIL
has branched out to other nations. The group ISIL remains operational
in 18 countries, including Afghanistan, Pakistan and Libya, the US
National Counterterrorism Centre said in an August 2016 report. It
also has “aspiring branches” in Bangladesh, Indonesia and the
However, ISIL also risks disillusionment with in its own ranks after
having enforced a brutal version of Sharia law, while carrying
outmilitant attacks throughout the world. Meanwhile the nation of
Syria remains divided concerning over what course of action to take
in term of reconciling the various factions and if they should accept
the leadership of Damascus.
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