Raqqa to be part of decentralised federal Syria

BEIRUT • Raqqa will be part of a decentralised federal Syria now that the city has been freed from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the US-backed militias that captured it said yesterday, tying its future to Kurdish-led plans to set up autonomous regions in the north.

The Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said the people of the majority Arab city and surrounding province would decide their own future "within the framework of a decentralised, federal democratic Syria".

Kurdish-led authorities in northern Syria are moving ahead with plans to establish the federal system in areas they control, kicking off a three-phase election process last month in Kurdish majority regions.

The plans for autonomous zones in northern Syria have encountered broad opposition from the United States, neighbouring Turkey, and the Syrian government in Damascus.

President Bashar al-Assad, who is regaining territory with Iranian and Russian military support, has repeatedly said the Syrian state will recover control over the entire country, which has been fractured by six years of conflict.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 21, 2017, with the headline 'Raqqa to be part of decentralised federal Syria'. Print Edition | Subscribe