SDF Organizes Its Ranks and Attempts to Attract Tribes
The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) has started restructuring itself militarily speaking and founding new military councils in the area it controls in north-eastern Syria, following the visit of the Saudi Minister for the Gulf Affairs, Thamer Al-Sabhan, to the area, accompanied by U.S. officials.
During the visit, on June 13, Thamer al-Sabhan, Joel Rubin, the Deputy Secretary of State, and the U.S. Ambassador William Roebuck have met several sheiks, dignitaries and administrative figures of the area’s tribes and clans.
Military action followed the visit of the Gulf’s representative and the foreign delegations to the area, manifested in the formation of four military councils in the al-Tabqah, al-Raqqaa, Tell Abiad and Ayn al-Arab (Kobane), while the spreading news indicates attempts at involving the Arab tribes in the political and military rule.
These moves also synced with the recent visits paid to the area by Gulf delegations, and others foreign, on top of which were that of the Australian Foreign Affairs Representative John Philip and the Swedish Envoy to the Syrian file Ber Ornioz.
Indulging Tribes in Area’s Ruling
The remarkable thing about the new military and political formations in the areas held by the Autonomous Administration is involving the Arab tribes in the restructured formations. The tribes’ role is represented by the meetings they have been attending in the past two weeks, which brought together the leaders and the representatives of the tribes and the political and military forces of the Autonomous Administration.
The last of these meetings was held between the Syrian Democratic Council (SDC) and the tribe leaders of Deir ez-Zor governorate on June 17 in Deir ez-Zor, according to Hawar News Agency, which added that “[the meeting] is conducted to explain the latest political developments in the area and to listen to the tribes’ demands that aim to improve the services reality.”
“We are against any schemes that aim at dividing the Syrian territories and seek that Syria be unified as land and people,” the agency quoted Hassan Koujar, a member of SDC.
“The major role in building the area is to be played by the sheiks and the dignitaries of the tribes, as to better the area’s reality in terms of services and security,” he added.
Military Structure of a New Shape
SDF has established four military councils in four cities which it controls in northern and eastern Syria. In less than a week, there were military councils in the al-Tabqah, al-Raqqaa, Tell Abiad and Ayn al-Arab (Kobane).
The formation of the al-Tabqah’s military council, the most recent, was announced on June 18, in a video recording featuring the leaders of the tribes, whose inclusion, according to a leader also appearing the video, aims to “impede local leaders in the new structure, in a step to make decisions faster and protect the area from any attack.”
In an official statement, SDF said that the major goal of this step is “unifying all the military and security forces in the area under a single umbrella; the thing that will empower the made-decisions to a larger extent and involve the local leaders in the mechanisms of decision making more effectively and to a greater degree.”
In addition to the declared objectives, there are “anchoring institutional work within SDF through the activation of institutes and their representation in the council, vitalizing the role of women via the offices represented by the Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) since they have played a principal role in cleansing the area of terrorism and their influential participation in the frontlines under the umbrella of SDF.”
The recently formed military councils consist of leaders, regiments and columns, as well as officials of military offices and a number of YPJ leaders.
These rapid developments come a few months after the termination of the Islamic State (IS) in the area and in sync with the international political movements aiming at reaching a political solution in Syria, in which the Autonomous Administration participated by meeting Geir Pedersen, the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria, and Anwar Gargash, the United Arab Emirates Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, in Oslo, the capital of Norway, last Thursday.