By Reuters – Oct 19,2017 – JORDAN TIMES
Syrian Democratic Forces fighters ride atop of military vehicle as they celebrate victory in Raqqa, Syria, on Tuesday (Reuters photo)
WASHINGTON — The defeat of the Daesh terror group in its de facto capital Raqqa may only be the start of a wider struggle by the United States to contain any insurgency launched by the militant group and to stabilise the region, as Washington grapples with defining a comprehensive strategy in Syria.
US-backed militias declared victory over Daesh in Raqqa on Tuesday, raising flags over the last extremist footholds after a four-month battle. The militant group often referred to as ISIS, overran Raqqa in January 2014, seizing control from rebel factions opposed to the rule of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
“While recapturing Raqqa is important symbolically, talk about almost a pyrrhic victory,” said Bilal Saab, a senior fellow at the Middle East Institute. “Addressing the economic, political grievances of the Sunnis so that another ISIS [Daesh] doesn’t come about will be as important as the military fight.”
Raqqa was the first big city Daesh captured, before its rapid series of victories in Iraq and Syria brought millions of people under the rule of its self-declared caliphate, which passed laws and issued passports and money.
Daesh has lost much of its territory in Syria and Iraq this year, including its most prized possession, the Iraqi city of Mosul. In Syria, it has been forced back into a strip of the Euphrates valley and surrounding desert.
Middle East analysts said that among the wide array of problems exposed after Daesh’s ouster from Raqqa were where to find money to help rebuild the shattered city, how to support fledgling local government in the face of a likely insurgency and how to keep Assad, backed by Iran and Russia, from trying to regain control.