Fighters of Syrian Democratic Forces evacuate a civilian from the stadium after Raqqa was liberated from the Islamic State militants in Raqqa, Syria, October 17, 2017. REUTERS/Erik De Castro
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Kurdish groups who led the fight against Daesh (ISIS) in its former capital Raqqa must navigate a complex peace to avoid ethnic tension with the city's Arab majority and to secure critical U.S. aid. The Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces, which finally vanquished Daesh in Raqqa Tuesday, face a big task rebuilding a city left in ruins by months of intense fighting and heavy airstrikes by the U.S.-led coalition.Longer term, Raqqa's political destiny is tied to the wider fate of the war that has shattered Syria into a patchwork of areas over the last six years, including swaths of the north controlled by the Kurdish YPG militia that leads the SDF.Raqqa was not a target for the YPG earlier in the war but gradually became one as the militia emerged as the main Syrian partner for the U.S.-led coalition.The SDF used a similar model in the northern Syrian city of Manbij last year after taking it from Daesh.A Syrian government official forecast trouble ahead for the SDF in Raqqa and other Arab majority areas of Syria.
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