Raqqa: the challenges of life after Daesh
On 20 October 2017, the city of Raqqa was liberated by Syrian democratic forces – an Arabic-Kurdish coalition – with the support of the Global Coalition against Daesh, which includes France. French armed forces based in the Levant as part of the Coalition were of considerable help in liberating the city by participating in command structures, gathering intelligence and carrying out air strikes. This victory was a major blow to the Daesh terrorist organization, which had proclaimed Raqqa the “capital” of its pseudo-State and the hub for plotting numerous foreign attacks.
In addition to the ongoing military action against Daesh, we must now begin the stabilization process to allow the people to once again live in safety and dignity and to avoid any resurgence in terrorism.
To address this urgent situation, France provided €10 million at the end of August 2017: €6 million for humanitarian assistance and €4 million for stabilization assistance.
France is supporting several non-government organizations and United Nations agencies which provide emergency assistance to displaced persons from Raqqa in camps for displaced persons, informal settlements and villages which provide them with shelter. In addition to helping displaced persons, the French funds are used for food assistance, mine clearance, water and healthcare. They mainly involve distributing food rations and basic necessities to help them get through the winter. Several health centres and water treatment plants have also already been or will soon be returned to service.
Within the Coalition, France also plays a key role in monitoring and supporting displaced persons. A French General has been tasked with overseeing the civilian and military action of the Coalition’s military staff. All these projects will enable tens of thousands of Syrians to gradually return to their normal lives.
In this stabilization phase, which is now beginning, effective and legitimate governance authorities must be set up. This is a priority for France, which is holding close dialogue on this issue with its partners from the Global Coalition against Daesh.
The victory against Daesh in the north-east of Syria will only last if governance which meets the aspirations of the local populations is put in place. In this regard, it is essential to ensure that projects remain politically neutral. France is thus prioritizing projects which directly benefit local populations, mainly involving mine clearance and basic services.
Updated: February 2018