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The New Arab

Kurds 'collaborating' with Russia and Syrian regime over Raqqa

Two SDF fighters on the front line against Islamic State, positioned outside Raqqa [AFP]

Date of publication: 25 July, 2017

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The US-backed alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters have agreed to an intelligence-sharing deal with Russia and the Syrian regime, after Russian airstrikes hit their positions.
The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) is collaborating with the Syrian regime and Russian army in the area surrounding Raqqa against Islamic State, it has emerged.

The SDF reportedly ceded the towns of Akirishi and Dalha in northern Syria to regime forces on Tuesday morning as part of a Russian-brokered deal, several unnamed sources told The New Arab.

No statement of confirmation had been issued by any side in the conflict at the time of publication.

The US-backed alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters agreed to gift certain villages to the south east of Raqqa to pro-regime militias, in a deal which could extend throughout northern Syria.

The Independent reported on Tuesday that a Russian air force colonel is currently positioned in a co-ordination centre with commanders from the YPG (a Kurdish militia group fighting as part of the SDF), the Syrian regime and Syrian militias.

The centre was reportedly set up earlier in July after a Russian airstrike mistakenly hit a Kurdish attack force who were engaging IS to the south of Raqqa.

Regime forces have been fighting IS forces to the south east of Raqqa in recent weeks, but reports emerged only last month of fighting with Kurdish forces in the area.

The SDF by contrast have mostly been fighting to capture Raqqa from IS since November, having breached the city perimeter in June.

Fourteen IS fighters were reportedly killed on Monday after SDF forces captured three new neighbourhoods.

"Today the SDF made progress in the neighbourhoods of al-Muazzafin, al-Hamra and Nazlat Shehada, where clashes are still ongoing," an SDF spokesperson told ARA News.

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