As the YPG and allied rebel brigades move deeper into A-Raqqa province, the Islamic State has been “spreading rumors among the Arabs that the Kurds are coming to slaughter them,” Furat al-Wafaa, a citizen journalist in the province, tells Ammar Hamou.
Q: After the joint forces reached Tel Abyad, some media outlets reported that the YPG only intends to capture that city, and will not head towards A-Raqqa. What’s your take?
“I don’t think the Kurds’ fight against IS has ended with their control over Tel Abyad. They realize that if IS were to remain in the area, that would mean a lack of stability. They would be living a state of anticipation, waiting for an IS attempt to retake Tel Abyad.”
Q: It appears that the Arabs of the A-Raqqa countryside are afraid of YPG participation in the battle against IS. Why?
“They certainly are afraid. It’s a legitimate fear for two reasons:
1) The Kurds look at the residents of A-Raqqa as a support base for IS. The Islamic State has worked to cement this idea by spreading rumors among the Arabs that the Kurds are coming to slaughter them and engage in ethnic cleansing.
2) The Islamic State will not let A-Raqqa go easily, and the Kurds won’t leave A-Raqqa to IS.”