Militants of the Islamic State and local supports gather in Raqqa suburb. File photo
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ERBIL – A group of Arab tribes in Syria’s northeastern province of Raqqa issued a joint statement on Tuesday, warning the Kurdish forces of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) of entering Raqqa.
Raqqa is considered the de facto capital of the Islamic State (ISIS) terror group.
“We will fight any Kurdish force entering our Arab areas in Raqqa province,” a spokesman for the Arab tribal groups in Raqqa said in a recorded statement.
The statement also accused the Kurdish fighters of conducting what they called “an ethnic cleansing” against Arab residents of the towns of Suluk and Tel Abyad in the northern countryside of Raqqa, which were regained by the YPG and allied Syrian rebels after fierce battles against ISIS militants.
The Arab tribal leaders also called on the international community to support them against the Kurdish forces, stressing that the YPG and its allies attempt to eliminate Arabs in their villages and towns in Raqqa province.
This comes amid intensifying battles between the Kurdish forces and ISIS militants in northern Raqqa.
Backed by the U.S.-led coalition, the YPG and allied rebels have regained dozens of towns and villages in the countryside of Raqqa over the last few months.
The Kurdish leadership had denied in an earlier statement the rumors of carrying out any “ethnic cleansing” against Arabs in the liberated areas, saying it has been working together with Arabs and Christians to establish a civil administration in every area liberated from ISIS.
Speaking to ARA News, civil rights activist Ahmed Salame said that the tribal figures who issued the anti-YPG statement have earlier facilitated ISIS’s entry to Raqqa and helped the group establish its alleged Caliphate.
“Those tribes have earlier provided a social incubator to ISIS, and they are now seeking an excuse to prevent the anti-ISIS Kurdish forces and rebels from liberating Raqqa from this barbaric group. There could be some pressure behind issuing such a statement in this particular moment,” he said.
Reporting by: Salar Qassim and Raman Yousef
Source: ARA News