Tue 18 Feb 2020

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Corruption sparks new demonstrations in Deir Ezzor

Demonstrations against the local council of the Autonomous Administration in the village of Hawaij in the western countryside of Deir Ezzor - 7 December 2019 (Deir ez-Zor media center)

Demonstrations against the local council of the Autonomous Administration in the village of Hawaij in the western countryside of Deir Ezzor - 7 December 2019 (Deir ez-Zor media center)

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The residents of Hawaij village are holding demonstrations against the local council of the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (NES) and against what they perceived as corruption, favoritism, inequality and economic problems in the western countryside of Deir Ezzor.

Public demonstrations broke out on Saturday, 7 December, and called for the NES to control and hold the organizations operating in Deir Ezzor accountable for their actions.

According to the Media Center in Deir Ezzor, the residents argue that these organizations are applying double standards and favouritism when distributing humanitarian aid and food packages. Therefore, the demonstrators are demanding permanent solutions to their problems, according to the center.

The Media Center also confirmed that many demonstrations took place in the eastern countryside of Deir Ezzor in the past few days for the same reasons and demands.

In conjunction with the demonstrations against the NES, The Euphrates Post, a local network, reported that the NES’s petroleum company was referred to the oversight and inspection committee on Saturday 7 December due to the embezzlement of 70 million Syrian pounds (SYP – around 138,000 USD).

The Euphrates Post indicated that the members of the NES’s petroleum company, who were predicated for investigation, were appointed only two months ago by certain influential members of Deir Ezzor’s local council. Most of the appointed members in the NES’s petroleum company are merchants, who are linked to military leaders in the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). Moreover, they are not well qualified for their positions, according to the local network.

Some SDF fighters broke up a student demonstration using bullets in the town of Gharanij in the eastern countryside of Deir Ezzor on 27 November. The demonstrators requested the SDF to evacuate the preparatory school of Gharanij, which was taken by the SDF as its military headquarters. As a result, the headmaster of the school was arrested during the demonstrations. Then, he was released later, according to the Euphrates Post.

Dozens of people also held in several cities in the northern and eastern countryside of Deir Ezzor, demonstrations rejecting the entry of Syrian regime forces into their areas, on 25 October.

Many demonstrations have taken place in the SDF-held areas since the NES declared its control over them until this moment.

The NES announced the establishment of a federal government, composed of nine ministries at a meeting of its general council in Ain Issa, in the countryside of Raqqa on 3 October 2018.

The federal government includes: interior body, health and environment authorities, women’s council, education authority, local administrative bodies, economic and agricultural authorities, financial institution, the culture and art authority, and social affairs and labor authority.

In a previous statement to the co-chair of the Syrian Democratic Council, IIham Ahmed, she said that the council is working on setting up a unified administration for the NES-held areas. The plan is concentrated on merging a number of local administrations and councils that have emerged in Syria’s northern and eastern areas, according to Ahmed.

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