On Friday, spokesman for the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) Talal Silo read an official statement in Raqqa city declaring that the SDF will hand over the administration of the city to the SDF-linked Raqqa Civilian Council.
“As the SDF Command, we state that we will be handing over the administration of Raqqa to the Raqqa Civilian Council. We will be handing over security to Raqqa Domestic Security Forces to ensure the safety of civilians in the city. We promise to defend the state and all its borders against all threats,” the statement said.
The SDF also said that the people of Raqqa city would decide their own future “within the framework of a decentralized, federal democratic Syria”. Previously the SDF said that the people of Raqqa will be free to make a decision to join the SDF federal system or to not. However, it was not reported that a referendum on the matter had been held.
In its official statement, the SDF also called on all countries and international human rights organizations to participate in the efforts “to rebuild the [Raqqa] city and its countryside, and help to remove war remnants from it”.
Previously, the Raqqa Civilian Council was criticized by Syrian opposition activists for including many Kurdish members from the Kurdish Democratic Party (PYD) that got no support what so ever among Arabs in Raqqa governorate. Especially that Kurds are a small minority in the governorate.
Moreover, opposition activists said that the majority of the Raqqa Domestic Security Forces’ commanders are in fact members of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG). The YPG is a military wing of the PYD.
Thus, in reality Raqqa city will stay under the direct control of the SDF and PYD wich may lead to problems inside the city in the future.