Iraq News

Arab-Kurd alliance sets up post-ISIL al-Raqa council

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on Tuesday (April 18th) announced the creation of a "civilian council" to administer the Syrian city of al-Raqa after its capture, AFP reported.

"The civilian council of al-Raqa will be charged with administering al-Raqa and the surrounding province after liberation," the SDF said in a statement.

The council was announced during a meeting in Ain Issa, a former "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant" (ISIL) stronghold some 50 kilometres north of al-Raqa, in northern Syria.

The SDF launched an offensive to capture al-Raqa in November with coalition support. But a key question has been who will administer the city after its capture.

"The council is made up of people originally from al-Raqa province. (The SDF) will entrust it with the running of the city once ISIL has been pushed out," said Jihan Sheikh Ahmed, a spokeswoman for the al-Raqa campaign.

Several tribal chiefs and local dignitaries from al-Raqa participated in the meeting establishing the council, which mirrors others set up in towns captured from ISIL by the Arab-Kurd alliance.

A military council also will be formed "soon", according to SDF spokesman Talal Sello, and charged with security in the city after ISIL is expelled.

"The SDF will train people originally from al-Raqa in co-operation with the international coalition to ensure the city's security after it is freed," Sello said.

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