Iraq News

Al-Raqa protesters reject IRGC, allied militias

By Waleed Abu al-Khair in Cairo


Residents of the Syrian city of al-Raqa demonstrate against the Syrian regime and call for the departure of the IRGC and allied militias. [Photo courtesy of al-Raqa Media Centre]

Residents of the Syrian city of al-Raqa recently staged a large protest to denounce the Syrian regime and demand the departure of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its allied militias.

The demonstration came as a stream of families fleeing the lawlessness in areas controlled by the Syrian regime and its allies arrived in parts of rural al-Raqa and Deir Ezzor provinces, al-Raqa shop worker Hamad al-Matar told Diyaruna.

People from rural al-Raqa and Deir Ezzor also took part in the protest, he said.

Al-Matar noted that many families have begun to arrive in rural al-Raqa and Deir Ezzor from regime-controlled areas, particularly western rural Deir Ezzor.

Families have been leaving these areas to escape the rampant lawlessness resulting from the proliferation of IRGC-affiliated militias, which have been imposing tributes on the civilian population, he said.

A lack of job opportunities, coupled with rising prices that have put most goods beyond the purchasing power of most residents, has contributed to this latest wave of displacement, al-Matar said.

Anti-regime and anti-IRGC sentiment is widespread in al-Raqa and Deir Ezzor, he added, noting that the Syrian regime has sought to sow discord among local residents and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), but without success.

Tribal elders have said they stand by the SDF, and intend to support them and the Deir Ezzor Military Council in their efforts to establish security in the region and prevent any "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) resurgence.

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