Printed Edition ‖ No.: 222
There has been many inquiries lately on how the situation will end up in the city of Al-Raqqa, the main stronghold of the “Islamic state” organization in Syria, along with persistent news about intense preparations conducted by “democratic forces of Syria”, supported by the US and Russia, in an attempt to control the city.
The news about the approach of the battle came through sources in the Russian forces of “Sputnik” Agency on Friday, May 20th, which confirmed that the faction will launch a military attack against Al-Raqqa within the upcoming hours.
The agency pointed out, through figures close to the Kurdish “People’s Protection Units” in the city of Ain Arab (Kobani) in the east countryside of Aleppo that “democratic Syrian forces” recently began to mobilize its troops in the town of Ain Eissa to the north of Al-Raqqa, in preparation for the battle.
With the arrival of the battle to the gates of the city, the international coalition aircraft, led by the United States against the organization, warned the residents of staying in the city, calling for, through leaflets thrown in the sky of the city on Thursday, May 19th; “the time you have been waiting for has come, it is time to leave Al-Raqqa.”
Salih Muslim meets Obama’s representative in “Kobani”
The most prominent American official, Brett McGurk, who visited Syria during the years of conflict, revisited the city of Ain Arab (Kobani) on Tuesday, May 17th, in a secret meeting with the leader of the Democratic Union party, Salih Muslim.
McGurk, Barrack Obama’s envoy to the International coalition, after his first visit on the 30th of last January, arrived the city with US delegation, and according to the information that Enab Baladi was able to get, where they held a secret meeting after his arrival, along with Muslim’s, aboard an American helicopter coming from the Solimania city, which is under the control of Iraqi Kurdistan, to return on the same day.
The source explained that the meeting took place under high security measures inside Salih Muslim’s house in the city center, adding that there was a discussion about the expected attack of “the democratic Syrian forces” over Al-Raqqa under the cover of the international coalition aircraft.
The Organization mobilizes and an internal displacement movement
As the forces prepare to invade the city, the organization mobilizes and prepares for military action. Enab Baladi correspondent, present in the eastern region, confirmed an internal displacement movement only towards the countryside of Al-Raqqa and the neighboring province of Deir Ez-Zour, while activists said that the organization is preventing people from leaving the city in order to take them as human shields during the battle.
A number of Western websites specialized in “Jihadist organizations” stated that the organization has announced for the first time general mobilization state in Al-Raqqa. They instructed the employers of their institutions to join the fighting fronts in the countryside of northern Al-Raqqa, while activists reported that the organization released a number of their prisoners in order to set them on the front lines of the battles on the outskirts of the city.
The “democratic Syria” does not seem to be the only party likely to participate in Al-Raqqa battle, as the Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations in Geneva, Alexey Borodavkin, announced early May that Assad forces plan to attack the cities of Deir Ez-Zour and Al-Raqqa together, supported by Russian air force.
Even though there are no news of coordination among the parties, yet possibilities are still open regarding the battle, while more than 300 thousand people in the city wait for the battle with a heavy silence, as they are number one loser, and they are expecting a long besiege that might extend for months.
Observers believe that once the “democratic Syrian forces” get into Al-Raqqa, the city will be included in the accounts of the democratic union party, just like the city of Tel Abiad, which was predominated by a majority of Arabs, and the city will be a part of areas of the Federal State that was announced last March, or it will become like the areas currently controlled by the party; a city of an independent ruling like the rest of the regions and cantons in Syria, especially with unconfirmed news of the Kurdish delegation’s visit to Washington in order to convince them of the “Federal North”.