Kurdish-led SDF to hand over Tabqa city to civilian council after liberation from ISIS

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A Kurdish unit from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) gathers in Afrin city to bid farewell to fellow fighters who have been killed in clashes with ISIS. Photo: ARA News

ARA News

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on 10 May liberated the city of Tabqa and the Tabqa Dam, a progress expiated to facilitate the liberation of Raqqa, the de facto capital of the ISIS self-proclaimed Caliphate.

The SDF leadership said in a statement on Saturday that the recently liberated Tabqa will be handed over to a local civilian council after the city is cleared of mines.

“We announce to the public opinion and declare that the administration of the city of Tabqa will be handed over to the civilian council of the city to manage its affairs along with the internal security forces after the city is fully secured and cleared of the mines and remnants of the war,” the Kurdish-led SDF said.

“We also appreciate the honorable people of the region for standing alongside our forces in the operation to liberate their city, we call upon all young men and women of the region to join the ranks of our forces and organize themselves so that they can protect the city and the region by themselves,” the statement added.

The SDF also thanked the U.S.-led coalition for their air and ground support.

The operation to take Tabqa began on 21 March with a large-scale air drop by the US-led coalition, quickly securing the Tabqa air base as part of the first phase of the operation.

“The second phase began with a storm into the city from three axes and our forces could break all enemy’s defense-lines and force them to withdraw to the Euphrates dam and the surrounded neighborhoods, they also rushed to use civilians as human shield as usual,” the SDF said in reference to Islamic State’s (ISIS) jihadists.

“This situation led our forces to carry out precise, sensitive and lengthy military operations in order to strike the enemy without harming the unarmed civilians and keep their safety and that of the dam,” the SDF said.

As a result of the siege by the SDF, many ISIS fighters surrendered to the SDF forces. “The operation to liberate Tabqa demonstrated once again the increasingly broken morale of ISIS,” the SDF said.

“Also their attempts to protect themselves by hiding among civilians or in the dam did not work, as well as their desperate attempts to break the siege of our forces,” the SDF said.

The SDF finally said that the Euphrates (Tabqa) Dam is a Syrian national institution that will serve all Syrian provinces without exception.

“We congratulate this great victory for the martyrs of the Raqqa campaign, and especially the martyrs of Karacok,” the SDF said in a reference to the 20 Kurdish fighters that were killed in Turkish air strikes in northeastern Syria on 25 April.

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg | Source: ARA News

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