The residents of Raqqa will support Turkey's likely operation in northern Syria's Manbij and expect Ankara to do the same for their city by expelling the PKK-affiliated People's Protection Units (YPG).
Pointing out that the U.S. has been dragging its feet on the Manbij deal, which foresees the complete withdrawal of the YPG from the city, to keep Raqqa in their hands, Fayez al-Ghada, current mayor of Raqqa, told the Yeni Şafak newspaper yesterday, "If YPG elements are eliminated from Manbij, it would pave the way for Raqqa's liberation."
Ghada underscored that the U.S. and its partners bombed the city and left it destroyed under the pretext of expelling Daesh from the region. He added that after the bombings local people were expelled from the city and forced to leave their homes and jobs.
Stressing that local people suffer at the hands of the U.S.-backed YPG, Ghada stated that the U.S. does not allow any civilians to return to the city nor has it taken any steps to reconstruct public schools, hospitals, shops and mosques which were destroyed by the bombings.
"If the Turkish armed forces decide to march east of the Euphrates, an enormous number of local people will stand by them, surpassing even their expectations. Turkish forces and the Free Syrian Army will definitely enter Raqqa," Ghada said.
In October 2017, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which is predominantly led by YPG forces, expelled Daesh from Raqqa, the group's de facto Syrian capital, with the help of airstrikes by the U.S.-led coalition. Thousands of people were killed in the battle to retake Raqqa. The dead were buried quickly in mass graves or left under debris, while the city was reduced to rubble.
After taking control, the YPG terrorists began looting the city and denied entry to civilians who had fled the clashes and wanted to return to their homes. Amnesty International reported in October that even years after the bombings, 80 percent of the city was still in ruins including schools, hospitals, and homes.