Arab tribal groups in Syria’s northeastern Raqqa Governorate have shown support to the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the anti-ISIS Euphrates Wrath Operation.
The SDF forces say that the support of Arab tribes has encouraged them to continue their military operations against ISIS in its de facto capital, Raqqa.
Arab tribal leaders have hosted SDF commanders and assisted in organising press conferences in the countryside of Raqqa.
Also, many Arabs have joined the multi-ethnic SDF troops to combat ISIS.
The Arabs in Raqqa stressed their belief in the SDF as a liberating forces that could guarantee people’s safety against the ISIS threat.
More than 2,500 Arabs from Raqqa have joined the Syrian Democratic Forces on an individual basis. Officials say that the number of new recruits is in increase. Also, six Arab armed groups have been fighting alongside the Kurdish-led SDF within the Euphrates Wrath Operation for Raqqa.
Abdullah Muhammad, an Arab tribal leader in Raqqa, told ARA News: “We want to thank the Syrian Democratic Forces for their bravery in combatting ISIS in our hometown. We also thank the US-led coalition for its support. This blessed campaign is in favour of Raqqa’s people.”
“The Arab tribes of Raqqa fully support this campaign, which is aimed at liberating our hometown from ISIS terrorists,” Muhammad said.
“We are also ready to establish a civilian administration to run the city as soon as ISIS is defeated and expelled from Raqqa. We are preparing to administratively run the city and provide the people with all the necessary services,” he added.
Muhammad al-Raqqawi, another Arab tribal leader from Raqqa, told ARA News: “The people of Raqqa are now stranded inside the city. We call on the other tribal groups inside Raqqa to support the Syrian Democratic Forces in this campaign in order to liberate the city from ISIS and guarantee people’s safety.”
“Today we’re accompanying the SDF forces to stress that these are liberating forces not occupying ones,” al-Raqqawi said.
Euphrates Wrath Operation
The Syrian Democratic Forces has announced the launch of the third phase of Euphrates Wrath Operation in Raqqa, a campaign aimed at isolating the Islamic State (ISIS) radical group in its de facto capital.
Cihan Shekh Ehmed, the SDF’s official Spokesperson for the Euphrates Wrath Operation, said in a press conference on Saturday that the new phase will be focused on securing the eastern countryside of Raqqa.
“As the [SDF-led] military operations [against ISIS] continue in western Raqqa, today we announce the third phase of the Euphrates Wrath Operation in eastern Raqqa,” she said. “The third phase is aimed at liberating the eastern countryside of Raqqa Governorate from ISIS, and save our people there from ISIS terrorism,” Cihan said. “The brutality of this terrorist group increases as we close in on its de facto capital.”
The SDF announced that it has captured over 2500 km2 in western Raqqa Governorate as part of the second phase of the US-backed Euphrates Wrath Operation, launched on 10 December. The polyethnic alliance also confirmed that they had cleared 196 villages and dozens of farms.
During the first phase of Euphrates Wrath, which began on November 6, the SDF liberated roughly 560 km² in northern Raqqa. “Thus, since the beginning of the battle for Raqqa, 3200 square kilometers have been cleared, including 236 villages.”
The SDF launched the second phase of the Operation Euphrates Wrath with the objective of securing Raqqa’s western countryside and Tabqa Dam, which bridges the Euphrates River. The first phase of the operation focused on securing the banks of the Balikh River.
The SDF confirmed the that they had eliminated 620 ISIS militants during the course of the campaign, captured 18 others and destroyed “over 40 car bombs.” In addition, SDF troops seized “a great deal of ammunition and weapons,” as well as “a number of ISIS vehicles.”
The long-term objective of Euphrates Wrath remains the elimination of the Islamic State in its de facto capital –Raqqa city.