Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) made up of an alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters, unloaded boxes of ammunition, supplied by the US-led coalition, in a village north of Raqa on June 7, 2017. / AFP / DELIL SOULEIMAN
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BEIRUT: The battle by U.S.-backed forces to oust Daesh (ISIS) from its Syrian bastion of Raqqa will solve one problem but create another: Who will then govern the city?The Syrian Democratic Forces Kurdish-Arab alliance backed by Washington is leading the fight for majority-Arab Raqqa.Located 80 kilometers from the border with Turkey, Raqqa is believed to be home to some 300,000 residents, including about 80,000 who have fled there from other parts of the country since Syria's civil war began.In 2013, two years into Syria's conflict, rebels and fighters from an Al-Qaeda affiliate seized Raqqa.At the time, Syria's Kurds were setting up "autonomous administrations" in territory abandoned by government forces while fighting Daesh militants in the north and northeast.Syria's government has taken an ambiguous position, concerned about the increasing territory held by U.S.-backed forces, but also recently describing the SDF's fight against Daesh as "legitimate".In Raqqa, Balanche said, Kurdish forces are hoping for a repeat of events in Manbij, once a major Daesh bastion in Aleppo province.Syria's government has long insisted that its forces would lead the fight to recapture Raqqa.
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