By Yousif Zawi
Currently, the decision has been made for the liberation of Raqqa to be started. The strategic northern Syrian city located on Euphrates River, predominated by Arabs and selected to be the Islamic State capital. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) which YPG took a big part of it has found by US, as a leading coalition force on the war against ISIS, to be fundamental partners to lead Raqqa operation. The question might be why US depends on YPG to liberate an Arab dominated city? The fear from Syrian regime to use the Iranian backed Shiite militia to fight for Raqqa is one of the main reasons, doing the best to prevent the Shiite crescent (Hilal) to the Mediterranean. Also taking under considerations that YPG provide safer and more secure environment to the areas they control.
Further, as a military tie to PKK, YPG-US cooperation has a damage impact on the Washington relationships with Ankara. As a NATO member and the most important US ally in the region for years, Turkey reject any association with PKK, what they consider as terrorists. In the time that YPG alliance with US will give the PKK legitimacy as a legal force. Antithetical views appeared from US officials, the speaker of US coalition forces argued on May 17th that the PKK will not be supported as it consider as terrorist group. At the same interview, he assumed the association with SDF to be continued which YPG activate under their banner.
Strategically, the PKK used to put much of pressure on Turkey through Washington especially with regards to its aims in Northern Syria. At the time that Ankara decided to have its own military army in Afrin, the YPG fighters began to give up form some Raqa territory recently liberated. When US looked for the reason, YPG mentioned that most of its fighters are from Afrin, their families’ safety is the top if they are needed in the liberation battle.
Otherwise, the US risked to depend on YPG fighters in Raqaa. ISIS may take the case as national and use the Arabs population of that areas to rise against the Kurdish force. Subsequently, sensitive manage of multifarious tribal and local subtleties are needed to control these lands after ISIS. Therefore, Deir al-Zour is considered as more important than Raqaa for ISIS. The eastern Syria’s largest urban on the Iraqi borders, covers the country’s most significant oil field.
Nothing could be better than YPG for US to continue its alliance for Dier al-Zour liberation fight, their cooperation must be the same of what Peshmerga forces and Iraqi army did in Mosul. Looking on alternatives may cost them severe losses with the existence of Sunni terrorist groups and Shiite militias as the only substitute.