Airstrikes blunt ISIS in Raqqa, but many Syrians there see little reason to be grateful

The New York Times reports: American airstrikes on the Syrian city of Raqqa, the vaunted capital of the Islamic State’s self-proclaimed caliphate, have scattered its fighters and disrupted the harsh system they had imposed, residents and visitors there say. But they see no gratitude toward the United States.

Rather, they suggested in interviews, many people are angry at the Americans. Food and fuel prices in Raqqa have soared, power blackouts have prevailed, and order is now threatened by a vacuum of any authority.

For all their violence and intolerance toward disbelievers, the fighters of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, at least functioned as a government, providing basic services and some semblance of stability.

“People don’t want some outside power to attack,” Khalid Farhan, a Raqqa resident, said during a recent trip to Turkey.

The anger in Raqqa underscored the potentially destabilizing consequences of the United States-led military campaign, in a place where there was little desire to see the Syrian government or other rebel groups return to power. The campaign also risks further alienating Syrians in opposition areas in the north who were already angered by the Obama administration’s narrow focus on destroying the Islamic State and refusal to counter attacks by the Syrian military. [Continue reading…]

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