SOUTHWEST ASIA – The Raqqah Internal Security Forces assumed security of three neighborhoods: Mishlib, al-Jazrah and al-Tayar in Raqqah, Nov. 20.
A ceremony in the eastern Raqqah neighborhood of Mishlib marked RISF’s assumption of the neighborhood’s security mission from Syrian Democratic Forces who liberated the city Oct. 20.
“This ongoing handover is an important step in a process that will allow the SDF to continue fighting Daesh elsewhere,” said Special Operations Joint Task Force commander Maj. Gen. James Jarrard. “With the RISF gradually assuming the security mission in Raqqah under the Raqqah Civil Council’s leadership, we continue to have Raqqawis securing and governing Raqqawis.”
The RISF is composed of local volunteers with subordinate sector commanders who are appointed by the Raqqah Civil Council. RISF units will provide local security and prevent Daesh’s re-emergence in Raqqah and the local area.
Enabled by the Coalition, the RISF continues to expand and train new recruits, with the goal of assuming control of other sectors of Raqqah from the SDF. “We will continue to support this local Syrian-led effort, which ensures representative, local governance, good security and full engagement with the tribal leaders and people of Raqqah,” said Jarrard.
The RCC establishes priority of tasks for the RISF, which is currently focused on demining, clearing rubble and providing essential service infrastructure to enable the return of internally displaced persons to their homes. “We need more help from the international community,” said Jarrard. “The RCC leads the delivery of aid to Raqqawis without homes, ensuring they have water, food and shelter. There’s a lot of work remaining and there is a definite need for international and NGO involvement.”
Raqqawis have been moving back to Mishlib, al-Jazrah and al-Tayar areas that have been slowly cleared of IEDs. The task is not yet complete and the RCC are keen to remind everyone of the need to follow public safety announcements because of the continuing threat from explosive hazards.