Thursday October 26, 2017
The fight to free the Syrian city of Raqqa from Daesh (ISIS) — by the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), led by U.S. special forces — has all but ended. With Raqqa now under SDF control, the question has become how to rebuild the former Daesh stronghold. The reconstruction of Raqqa will undoubtedly last longer than the siege to free it, as thousands of U.S. air and artillery strikes pounded much of the city into rubble. During August alone, a U.S. coalition bomb, missile or artillery round was fired into Raqqa on average every eight minutes.
Unable to deny its role in the city’s rather destructive “liberation,” the U.S. government has claimed that it will lead the way in clearing the rubble it created and restore basic services, such as water and electricity that were cut off during the bombardment. Last Tuesday, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters, “We will assist and take, essentially, the lead in bringing back the water, electricity and all of that.”
“But eventually the governance of the country of Syria is something that I think all nations remain very interested in,” Nauert added, alluding to the fact that the SDF and its U.S. backers have no plans to return Raqqa to Syrian government control, having instead passed the city’s governance to a “local council.”
However, Raqqa’s council along with other groups of Syrian Kurds recently agreed to negotiate with the Syrian government after Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem told the Kurds last month that the Syrian government was open to granting the Kurds “some form of self-administration.”