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Raqqa Joins Northern Federal Syria

Raqqa Joins Northern Federal Syria

Saturday, 21 October, 2017 - 07:00
Female fighters from the Syrian Democratic Forces are seen at a celebration in Raqqa on October 19, 2017, after retaking the city from the Islamic State. (AFP Photo/Bulent Kilic)

The Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces officially announced on Friday the liberation of Syria’s Raqqa and confirmed they would hand over the city to the civil council within the framework of a decentralized and federal system that starts from the north.

Three days after fully controlling the city, SDF spokesperson Talal Silo announced at a press conference held in the center of Raqqa: “We offer this historic victory for all humanity, and specifically to the victims of terrorism who suffered from ISIS’ oppression and treats in Syria and the world.”

The council, established last April and made up of local officials and tribal leaders, would administer the affairs of Raqqa. It would also manage the reconstruction file.

“We assert that the people of the Raqqa province would decide their own future within the framework of a decentralized, federal, democratic Syria,” Silo said.

The city of Raqqa removed on Friday the “ISIS black veil” and breathed a sigh of relief, four months after fierce battles led by the Democratic Forces.

Jasser, an SDF fighter in Raqqa, said on Friday that he decided to join the ranks of the Syrian Democratic Forces after ISIS militants attacked his hometown, Hasaka, last summer.

As for Ali, another SDF fighter from the town of Tal Barak in the north east of Hasaka said that he hasn’t seen his family for more than a month.

“I was one of the first fighters who entered the city. At that time, I felt very happy and today, I am expecting to be happier with the liberation of the entire city,” he said.

Ali hoped to see the entire Syrian territories free from ISIS and the Syrian regime.

Meanwhile, Ankara launched criticisms against Washington on Friday one day after Kurdish forces raised a huge banner of jailed Kurdish militant leader Abdullah Ocalan.

The Women’s Protection Units, a women wing affiliated to the People's Protection Units (YPG), organized on Thursday a military parade in Raqqa’s Al-Naim Square, where they raised the portrait of Ocalan, leader of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), described by Turkey as a terrorist organization.

Turkey said the banner would harm already tense relations between Ankara and Washington.

“I wonder what more evidence the US needs to accept that the ... YPG is a terrorist organization. With this move, the U.S. is not only cooperating with terrorists, but they are endangering the future of Syria,” Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim told reporters as he left a mosque in Istanbul.

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