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A complicated situation

Aug 19,2017 - Last updated at Aug 19,2017

The battle for the Syrian city of Raqqa proves to be a drawn out affair reminiscent of the battle for Mosul, which was finally recaptured by the Iraqi army a few weeks ago from Daesh factions.

Battles for both cities registered high numbers of casualties among civilians caught in the crossfire.

And as in Mosul, aerial bombardments continue to claim the lives of scores of civilians in Raqqa.

Coalition warplanes have been pounding Daesh positions in Raqqa, in the process of killing innocent people as well.

No matter how much care is taken — at least there are claims to that effect — to avoid civilian casualties, Syrians continue to systematically lose lives by the dozens.

Worse, it is now predicted by some analysts that Raqqa will not be recaptured anytime soon, which means that more civilian lives are bound to be lost.

Adding to the complexity of the battle for Raqqa is the division between the hardened Kurdish YPG militias and the nascent Arab forces joining the battle on the same side.

While the Kurdish fighters are well trained and armed, the Arab forces are still poorly prepared to fight and lack weapons.

These two forces fighting Daesh in Raqqa appear to have divergent agendas and that could impede an easy victory in the battle for this strategically located city.

Meanwhile, Ankara has been pressing the US not to arm the YPG, for fear that it could pose a threat to Turkey’s security once the battle for the Syrian city is over.

Turkey harbours animosity towards anything that has to do with the Kurds, whether within its borders or outside.

These added complications do not bode well for the future of either Syria or Turkey.

The US has been resisting Ankara’s attempt to dissuade it from arming the Kurdish fighters, insisting that Raqqa cannot be retaken from Daesh without the direct involvement of YPG forces.

So far, the Kurdish group and the Arab fighters that make up the so-called Free Syrian Democratic Forces continue to hammer Daesh in Raqqa, making steady but slow progress.

 

Ultimately, this city that became Daesh’s self-proclaimed capital in Syria will be freed from the clutches of the terrorist group, but the developments after can only be expected to complicate an already knotty situation in Syria.

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