US anti-IS chief visits Raqqa civil council in Syria
The US chief envoy to the anti-Islamic State group coalition has visited Syria, where he met the local council set to take over the running of Raqqa once the jihadi force is defeated.
Brett McGurk told members of Raqqa Civil Council that it has the Washington's full support once the municipality takes over operations in the city.
Washington is backing a contingent of Arab and Kurdish fighters from the Syrian Democratic Forces, who have launched an operation to take Raqqa from IS.
So far, the group has captured several districts on the outskirts of the south-east Syrian city thanks to US arms and air support.
Raqqa was declared the "capital" of IS' territories shortly after it was captured from anti-regime rebel fighters in 2014.
McGurk and several coalition officials met members of Raqqa Civil Council - which was formed in April - in the northern Syrian city of Ain Issa.
Omar Alloush, a member of the council, told Reuters the US official promised help in developing the ravished infrastructure of Raqqa once the jihadi force is defeated.
"They did not specify any sum, but they decided we will support first removing mines, lifting rubble, maintenance of schools, then electricity stations and water," Alloush told the news agency.
The Battle of Raqqa was launched by the Syrian Democratic Forces on 7 June. Syrian fighters have faced stiff resistance from IS militants, but are making daily progress.
Military sources believe the IS' leadership fled the city before the assault began, leaving behind a hard-core cadre - along with tens thousands of civilians - to defend the city.
The situation remains grim for civilians living under siege and facing daily bombardment from coalition forces, while IS militants are said to have murdered scores of suspected "spies".