Syrian Kurdish Leader: Raqqa Will Join Kurdish-Run Region

Insists Raqqa Must Be 'In Friendly Hands' in the Future

Syrian Kurdish officials have made a point of setting up a semi-autonomous “federalized” region in their territory, despite having never really negotiated this idea with the central government. As they’ve taken Arab-dominated regions in the surrounding area, they’ve added them to this region.

Today, PYD co-chair Saleh Muslim insisted that the continued expansion is going to include Raqqa, the capital of ISIS’ territory, which the US is backing Kurdish forces in surrounding, with an eye toward a full-scale invasion.

Muslim insisted that the effort at expanding the federalized region is important for all of Syria, and that the Kurds are determined that Raqqa must always be “in friendly hands” in the future. Exactly how the people of Raqqa feel about this is so far unclear.

But while the YPG had an alliance with some local Raqqa resistance forces aimed at expelling ISIS at the start of the military offensive, many of those opposition factions have cut ties with the Kurds, complaining that the YPG is trying to dictate terms to them. That might hurt their attempt at selling Raqqa on joining the autonomous region, though they may not be given a choice at any rate.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of