Deir Ezzor: Elders call on SDF to strengthen Arab role

A meeting between elders from Deir Ezzor governorate and representatives of the “Autonomous Administration” - 21 March 2022 (Al-Sharqiya Correspondent news network)

A meeting between elders from Deir Ezzor governorate and representatives of the “Autonomous Administration” - 21 March 2022 (Al-Sharqiya Correspondent news network)

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The Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES), the political umbrella of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), held a meeting with tribal elders from the Deir Ezzor governorate. The meeting followed protests by people in the region demanding the release of detainees and improving the living and service situation there.

According to a video posted by the al-Sharqiya Correspondent news network via Telegram, one of the elders of Deir Ezzor threatened representatives of the Deir Ezzor Civil Council by saying that he will not allow the entry of the council’s institutions into the area if they did not replace Kurdish officials with Arab representatives from the region. 

He also called for a solution to SDF’s arrests in the countryside of Deir Ezzor, under the pretext of pursuing Islamic State (IS) cells and keeping them in prison for several months. 

The video showed one of the region’s elders repeating that representatives of AANES and its Civil Council in Deir Ezzor are prevented from entering their offices until demands for strengthening the Arab role in the region’s political and economic management are met. 

Areas inhabited by the al-Shaitat clan, east of Deir Ezzor, have been witnessing protests since the beginning of March. The protesters complained about the deteriorating living situation, called for the distribution of fuel on locals and the release of detainees, and denounced the corruption of SDF institutions.

On 1 March, a member of the Internal Security Forces (ISF), also known as Asayesh, was killed after a fight between him and a group of demonstrators from the village of Abu Hamam, east of Deir Ezzor. The incident followed Asayesh’s attempts to disperse an anti-SDF demonstration in the village. 

This was preceded by clashes in the eastern city of al-Baseera, on 14 February, between tribal members of the region and fighters from SDF, in connection with the arrest of young men from the al-Ghadban and al-Jamil clans. 

SDF has been carrying out security operations in the eastern countryside of Deir Ezzor, which is witnessing a proliferation of IS cells. However, SDF’s arrests often target civilians, many of whom are later released.

This article is translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. 

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