The United States has been seeking to start implementing a plan based on the reformation of the Raqqa Revolutionaries Brigade faction, which has been dissolved since June 2018. Under the plan, Washington hopes to be able to deploy along direct lines of contact with Turkish forces in northern Raqqa governorate, which would satisfy Ankara’s desire to push back Kurdish units 30 kilometers into Syrian territory from the border.
The Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar quoted Kurdish sources opposed to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) as saying: “During their tour in the city of Raqqa a week ago, U.S. officers asked the commander of the Raqqa Revolutionaries Brigade faction, Ahmed Al-Aloush, to reconstitute his group. They further asked Aloush to increase the number of the group’s members to reach at least 3,000 fighters, on the basis that Washington will meet the associated costs and monthly salaries for the fighters.”
“This scenario, if realized, would embarrass Moscow and block its efforts to convince the SDF to withdraw and hand over its areas to the Syrian army,” Al-Akhbar explained.
The Raqqa Revolutionaries Brigade faction disbanded in June 2018 after the SDF seized its headquarters in the city and arrested its commander, along with more than 300 of its members. Following U.S. mediation, the SDF released the commander and his men about a month later.
“The United States is currently working to determine the group’s scope of activities — options range from working for the U.S. administration independently of the SDF or merging nominally with the SDF,” Al-Akhbar argued. “The second option seems to be the most likely, despite the two parties’ bloody history. Washington is working to ensure that the Autonomous Administration does not overthrow it, and in return, does not try to single out Raqqa Governorate.”
“The SDF has fallen victim to an American betrayal, as discussed by SDF leader Mazloum Abdi approximately two weeks ago. The U.S. withdrawal in favour of an old enemy is no different from the withdrawal in favour of Turkey. And the revival of a tribal rival in Raqqa threatens the SDF with permanent exclusion from the governorate should any fresh dispute arise between the two groups, or if the experiment proves to be successful.”
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.