Raqqa rebels reject folding Tel Abyad into Kurdish statelet

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One day after Arab tribal leaders from Tel Abyad agreed to cooperate militarily with the Rebels of A-Raqqa brigade to eliminate the Islamic State in the province, the brigade announced their rejection of the Kurdish Democratic Union’s (PYD) decision to administratively merge the Arab-majority city into the semi-autonomous Kurdish state. “Tel Abyad is administratively part of the province of A-Raqqa and this issue requires the rule of law and legislation,” Rebels of A-Raqqa brigade spokesman Abu Muath A-Raqqa told Syria Direct on Wednesday. “We reject the decision completely.” This decision has “led to tension” between the brigade and the Kurdish People’s Protection Units, the military wing of the PYD and the brigade’s allies in the Euphrates Volcano coalition, Abu Hammoud al-Mousa, an activist with the Raqqa is Being Silently Slaughtered campaign told Syria Direct on Wednesday. The original administrative decision to merge was signed on Sunday by the PYD and the PYD-established Tel Abyad Council of Representatives, which is staffed by local Tel Abyad residents loyal to the PYD, reported London-based al-Arabi al-Jadeed. The brigade also called on Tel Abyad residents to organize elections in order to form a provincial council to replace the PYD-controlled one, said al-Mousa.