Rojava warns of ISIS comeback to its former ‘capital’

SULAIMANI, Kurdistan Region — ISIS militants on Monday attacked the headquarters of the Internal Security Forces (Asayish) in Raqqa, the former capital of the self-proclaimed caliphate, killing six Asayish members and injuring several others, according to a statement.

The Asayish forces said in a statement that several militants, including one with a suicide vest, attacked their headquarters in Raqqa’s al-Dariya neighborhood on Monday.

The Asayish forces responded to the attack by killing two militants and arresting another. The rest of the group managed to escape, according to Hawar News Agency (ANHA), affiliated with the Kurdish authorities in northeast Syria (Rojava).

Telegram channels belonging to ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack.

As ISIS militants attempted to reach a nearby prison where a number of prisoners were being held, Asayish forces blocked them.

“We reaffirm that we will continue to eliminate sleeper cells that attempt to disrupt Rojava’s security and commit crimes against civilians,” the statement added.

In response to the attack, the city was placed under a security curfew and more security forces were deployed.

Mazloum Abdi, general commander of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on Monday warned of “dangerous preparations” by the ISIS sleeper cells in Raqqa that could prompt them to reemerge.

“Information received from Raqqa indicates dangerous preparations by ISIS cells. We must not tolerate it,” Abdi warned.

Following the Turkish offensives on Rojava, the SDF suspended its anti-ISIS operations in the region, which made it easier for militants to move freely, especially at night.

“These terrorist moves coincide with the continuous Turkish threats to target the security and stability of the region,” Abdi added.

Raqqa was captured by the Al-Nusra Front in 2013. After ISIS captured the city in 2014, it became the de facto capital of its caliphate. However, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) liberated it in 2017.

 

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