The northern Syrian city of Raqqa is expected to join a decentralized system of government being set up by Syrian Kurdish groups and their allies once it is freed from Islamic State, a leading Kurdish politician told Reuters on Monday. The political project is causing deep alarm in Turkey, which sees the YPG and its political affiliate, the PYD, as an extension of Kurdish groups that are fighting an insurgency on Turkish soil. Saleh Muslim, the co-chair of the Syrian Kurdish PYD party, said it would be up to the people of Raqqa to decide their future once the city is freed from Islamic State, but he thinks the city will join the “democratic federal” system. He added that Raqqa needed to be in “friendly hands” otherwise it would form a “danger to all Syria, particularly northern Syria, the federal system of northern Syria, the areas of self administration”.
U.S.-backed Syrian fighters on Monday cut the main road between the northern Syrian city of Raqqa, which is controlled by the Islamic State group, and the eastern city of Deir el-Zour, which is partially held by IS, as they press into the extremists’ territory in Syria. But despite the fresh blockade on the Raqqa-Deir el-Zour road, IS still controls large swaths of ground south of Raqqa. SDF spokesman Talal Sillo told The Associated Press that “our forces have cut the main supply line between Raqqa and Deir el-Zour.” He added that it is still too early to impose a siege on Raqqa because the extremists still control areas west and south of the city.