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    A Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighter rests with his weapon on a vehicle camouflaged with mud, north of Raqqa city, Syria November 7, 2016

    Syrian Democratic Forces Continue to ‘Build Arab Element’ - Coalition

    © REUTERS/ Rodi Said
    Middle East
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    The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) continue to increase the number of Arabs among their ranks amid the advancement to liberate the Syrian city of Raqqa from the Daesh terror group (outlawed in many countries), US Operation Inherent Resolve spokesman Col. John Dorrian said in a briefing on Wednesday.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The SDF, which include the Syrian Arab Coalition, launched the Wrath of Euphrates operation to retake Raqqa on November 5, 2016. At present, about 75 percent of the force that is isolating Raqqa is Syrian Arab, according to the US Defense Department.

    "The Syrian Democratic Forces are a multi-ethnic and multi-sectarian organization and that is one of the reasons why we are working with them. They have continued to build the Arab element of their force," Dorrian told reporters.

    US-led coalition member Turkey has stated that Kurdish forces, such as the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and the Popular Defense Units (YPG) seizing Raqqa, may pose a threat to Ankara after Daesh is driven from the city.

    Turkey considers PYD and YPG militias linked to Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has been listed as a terrorist organization by Ankara.

    The coalition has been saying that the SDF remains the most capable force on the ground to conduct the Raqqa operation. Dorian noted that the Kurds will participate in the offensive on the city.

    "We do expect that they [the Kurds] will be involved at some level. We continue working with the Syrian Democratic Forces and the Syrian Arab Coalition," the spokesperson said.

    Dorrian added that the United States and Turkey continue to hammer out the scope of Turkish military involvement in the Raqqa offensive, but no agreement with Ankara has been reached yet.

    Tags:
    Operation Inherent Resolve, Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), US Department of Defense (DoD), John Dorrian, Turkey, Raqqa, Syria
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