Coalition Forces Intervene After Clashes Resume Between SDF and Raqqa Revolutionaries Brigade

Alexander Falconer | 28 May, 2018

Clashes broke out once more on Sunday 27 May between the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the Raqqa Revolutionaries Brigade.

An SDF source in Raqqa told a German media outlet on Sunday that "clashes broke out between fighters from the Raqqa Revolutionaries Brigade and the Kurdish PYD at 10 pm this evening ... Light and medium-calibre weaponry was used, and civilian homes were targeted". 

The source added that "international coalition forces, made up mostly of American troops, intervened in the clashes and requested the PYD fighters to leave the area and withdraw to their bases in the west of the city".

The source attributed the cause of the clashes to "a raid by an Asayish [Kurdish security forces] patrol of the house of a Raqqa Revolutionaries Brigade commander, Abu Awad. The house is located near the al-Barazi roundabout in the al-Ramila neighbourhood in the north-east of the city. Many of the Arab locals from the neighbourhood confronted the Asayish, and four-hour long clashes broke out".

The atmosphere remains tense in the area, with a demonstration being held in the neighbourhood demanding that the PYD be removed from the city.

The source said that "more than 15 vehicles carrying Asayish and PYD fighters arrived at the western neighbourhood. However, they did not dare to enter the area out of concern that the Arab fighters in their ranks could switch sides".

Clashes had previously broken out between these factions last April in the villages of al-Adnaniya and al-Qahtaniya west of Raqqa city, resulting in casualties on both sides. 

The SDF militia had previously excluded its former ally the Raqqa Revolutionaries Brigade from last year's anti-ISIS campaign in the city, which involved the arrest and harassment of the brigade's members in the north of the governorate. 

The SDF militia in Raqqa has enjoyed the support of the international anti-ISIS coalition since the operation against the group launched last October. ISIS was subsequently ousted as a result of this operation. 

Translated By: Alexander Falconer