“Sons and daughters of Raqqa are liberating their hometown”
SDF Commander said that the majority of SDF fighters participating in the Raqqa campaign are from the Raqqa area and added: “sons and daughters of Raqqa are liberating their hometown.”
Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) Commander Loqman Xelil said that the majority of SDF fighters participating in the Raqqa campaign are from the Raqqa area and added: “sons and daughters of Raqqa are liberating their hometown.”
Speaking to ANF, Xelil said: “The Raqqa campaign was carried out thanks to the sacrifices of Raqqa’s sons and daughters. Today the people of Raqqa are fighting here. People of Raqqa are searching for their freedom. In Manbij operation our forces were mixed. And in Tabqa too. But in Raqqa the majority of fighters are from the Raqqa territory. Raqqa’s youth fought and died in their neighbourhoods, in their streets to liberate their hometown. The victory in Raqqa is achieved by the hands of people of Raqqa.”
"FIGTING IN RAQQA IS NOTHING LIKE MOSUL"
Xelil recalled the concerns at the beginning of the Raqqa campaign and said “Everybody was worried about what we would do in Raqqa. There were questions such as ‘will they be able to liberate Raqqa’, ‘will they achieve their goals’ or ‘will they be able to finish it according to the plan’. There were some who were expecting the fighting in Raqqa to be similar to what happened in Mosul. They were expecting huge losses and destruction. Because Raqqa was the capital of ISIS who settled there with all their capabilities. Therefore it was being expected that SDF would suffer huge blows. But after four months we can easily say that ISIS gangs were the ones who were hit the hardest. Now they are on the phase of a total finish off.”
Xelil said that the Raqqa campaign took a longer time than planned and that’s only because they wanted to avoid civilian casualties.
“Mostly our forces moved in very slow and only acted after the civilians were transferred to a secure area. But now a big part of the city is under our control. We are moving forward to capture the remaining parts of the city. ISIS is now on the verge of the end” he said.
“SYRIA, RUSSIA AND IRAN ARE TRYING TO STOP US”
Xelil accused the Syrian regime, Russia and Iran of trying to stop SDF forces from advancing and said “The Syrian regime cannot accept the fact that a city like Raqqa is falling to the hands of SDF fighters. They don’t want the people to build their own administration. Therefore they are rushing to stop us. Syria, Russia and Iran are trying to stop our forces from advancing.”
About the ongoing Deir ez-Zor campaing, Xelil said: “We didn’t hide the fact that we would head to Deir ez-Zor after Raqqa. The Syrian regime made compromises with Russia so that it can stop our forces advancing to Deir ez-Zor. Turkey, Iran and Russia are also participating in this effort.”