SDF Commanders before Raqqa operation / Twitter
An operation on the most important city in Syria, the ISIS held city of Raqqa, is the talk of the day in Rojava as well.
On one hand, clashes in the Shehba region continue. On the other, political, military and diplomatic activity continues nonstop for the Raqqa operation.
The operation on Raqqa is expected to start before the presidential elections in the US. As there is very little time left until the elections, the operation’s launch is just a matter of days now.
Turkey won't be included in the operation
The state of Turkey has worked hard so the Rojava and Northern Syria forces are not part of this operation. Erdoğan declared he spoke to Obama on this issue time and again. But the efforts by the Turks didn’t pan out, as nobody in the region or the world believes that Turkey will truly fight ISIS. The statements made for diplomacy don’t reflect the truth. Thus, Turkey wasn’t included in the Mosul operation, and it won’t be included in the Raqqa operation either.
The US and Northern Syria Forces will conduct the operation
The Raqqa operation will be carried out by the coalition by air, and Northern Syrian Forces (including the YPG) by land. US officials visited Rojava a while ago to meet with the authorities about the details of the operation.
The operation isn’t expected to fit into a short time span, as ISIS will be playing their last cards here. As the Mosul operation will still be underway simultaneously, there is almost nowhere for ISIS to run, and by necessity they will wage a life or death war here.
Clearing Raqqa is vital for Rojava and Northern Syria
Taking Raqqa back from ISIS is a vital issue for Rojava and Northern Syria. It will mean a huge danger being ripped out by its roots. After the city is taken, it will be left to the initiative and will of the city’s own people, just like in Manbij, Tel Abyad and Shaddadi.
This operation will eliminate the ISIS threat and provide an important boost for the momentum in proposing the political and military model in Rojava and Northern Syria as an alternative to all of Syria.
Raqqa is important especially for Rojavan forces. These forces will be able to turn the relationship with the US and the West, tactical up to this point, into a political and strategic one.
Turkey wanted to join the operation to fight Rojava
Turkey wanted to join the operation not to fight ISIS, but to fight against Rojava. Rojavan forces joining the operation disrupted Turkey’s plan.
Rojava's primary enemy is not ISIS anymore, it is Turkey
In the current situation the most important enemy for Rojava is not ISIS anymore. After a rough period of 3 years of war, ISIS is now confined to Raqqa. Now, the biggest and most important enemy of Rojava and Northern Syria is the Turkish state. This is not Rojava’s choice, but a result of the anti-Kurdish politics of Turkey. Turkey used to wage this animosity via ISIS, but ISIS is now a defunct weapon. Thus, the Turkish state is actualising this animosity through its own army.
Turkey not taking part in the Raqqa operation is a gain for Rojava and Northern Syria by all accounts. But this doesn’t mean that Turkey has given up all plans. They will continue with various attempts in territory they invaded in Jarablus, Azaz and Mare. They already state that they want to take Bab and Manbij. Some attacks by Turkey on Rojava can be expected after the Raqqa operation launches.
Turkey cannot invade Manbij
Another plan Turkey has is for Manbij. It’s not possible for Turkey to take Manbij from the Syrian Democratic Forces. A possible attack on Manbij will be met with great resistance. International powers, and primarily the US, is against this attempt by the Turks. US authorities have relayed their policy on this issue to both the Turkish authorities and the relevant forces in the region. In short, it is militarily, politically and diplomatically impossible for Turkey to invade Manbij.
It is also unclear who will be entering Bab. Rapproachment between Turkey and Russia and the disagreement between Russia and the US has changed the balance in the region. Turkey wants to invade Bab and use it against Rojava and the Northern Syria Forces. The resistance forces in Shehba are said to be prepared for this situation. The operation on Raqqa regress activity in the Shehba region, on the contrary, it will speed things up.
Political outcomes of the Raqqa operation
Raqqa will undoubtedly be at the centre of all this activity. The political outcomes of the military operation on Raqqa will shape the future of Syria. It is also necessary to closely monitor the attitudes of the Syrian regime and Russia towards this operation, as the future of Syria will be the fundamental talking point after the deadly blow to the threat of ISIS has been dealt. And whoever has more power on the field will have more say in the matter.
Peoples of Rojava and Northern Syria will declare their political will
To sum up, the operation on Raqqa and clearing ISIS from this region will not just be a military development. This operation will shape Turkey’s plans for Syria; the relationship between the US, Coalition and Rojava and Northern Syria, the Damascus administration's plans and Russia; thus in short the future of Syria. In this sense, Raqqa will be the “Final Showdown”. But this showdown won’t be to end the play, but to start another. Because there are many more accounts to settle in Syrian territory yet. Several powers have focused on post-ISIS plans. Clearing ISIS will be important, but there is still time before peace is achieved and a Democratic Syria is established.
Northern Syria Forces will clear the barbaric ISIS with this operation and become an indispensible force in Syria.
The peoples of Rojava and Northern Syria will declare their political will as a democratic model during the operation process. These military and political developments in parallel will gain speed in the near future.
- Amed Dicle
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