A report by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) claimed that several Arab units from the Free Syrian Army (FSA) have withdrawn from the battle of Raqqa after disagreements with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
According to the report, the “Elite Forces” that follow the Syrian opposition leader Ahmed Jarba and is considered to be among the few publicly Saudi-backed groups are among the withdrawing groups.
According to the SOHR, the “Elite Forces” withdrew its fighters from Al-Mashbal and Al-Sinaa districts, the Bab Baghdad area and the Old Raqqa area in Raqqa city to the Al-Hamrat area in the eastern Raqqa countryside. However, negotiations are under way between the “Elite Forces” and the SDF to return to battle.
From its side, SDF sources claimed that the faction was excluded from the battle because of the bad behavior of its fighters in the front, and its withdrawal from some “strategic point” on front lines with ISIS. The SDF also claimed that the “Elite Forces” tried to present itself as a faction equal to the SDF, which confirms that the SDF aim to keep Raqqa under the Kurdish influence.
According to SOHR, 117 SDF fighters have been killed in the battle of Raqqa so far, while the “Elite Forces” have lost only two fighters. It’s worth mentioning that Kurdish forces are still the majority involved in Raqqa Operation contrary to what is promoted by the mainstream media and the US-led coalition leadership. This indicates the possibility of problems between Arabs and Kurds in Raqqa city in the future.