RAQQA, SYRIA – A handful of groups claiming to resist the U.S.-led occupation of Northeastern Syria have sprung up throughout the region since the year began — targeting U.S. forces as well as the U.S. proxy in the area, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). Since last year, the U.S. has been occupying over 30 percent of Syrian territory, as well as most of the country’s oil, gas, agricultural and fresh-water resources.
Most of the groups have sprung up in areas of Syria under U.S. and SDF control, citing the U.S.-appointed local government’s inability to tackle major issues, like restoring water supplies and stemming discrimination against non-Kurdish civilians as the main factors behind their decision to oppose U.S. occupation.
The first Syrian resistance group to target the U.S. occupation, the pro-government Popular Resistance of Raqqa (PRoR), was formed in February in the city of Raqqa, where according to monitors, a U.S.-led battle to retake the city killed over 1,800 civilians. Eighty percent of all of the city’s buildings were destroyed in the battle — including critical infrastructure and its water supply — and the area remains littered with landmines. Since the U.S.-appointed government has taken control, little has been done to improve living conditions in the city.
The PRoR announced in a video statement:
We officially declare the formation of the popular resistance in Raqqa to prevent the American aggression from taking over any part of our beloved Syria after it [the U.S.] gathered terrorists from all over the world as their proxies; who destroyed the city of Raqqa and killed its innocent people.”
The group later called on the people of Raqqa to resist the U.S. and its proxies by “engaging in demonstrations, strikes and opposing all efforts to partition Syria.”