Assassinations of tribal leaders in SDF-held part of Deir-ez Zor continues

The lack of security in Deir ez-Zor has long been a major problem in the area. The part of the region held by SDF-affiliated forces has known a multitude of assasinations of tribal leaders and religious leaders.

The series of such assassinations started on July 31, 2020, when ISIS claimed responsibility for the killing of “Ali Suleiman Al-Hamadah”, the official spokesperson for “Al-Ekaydat tribe”, in Al-Busayrah town in eastern Deir Ezzor. It is worth noting that “Al-Ekaydat” is a large Arab tribe which dominates the Near Euphrates region with some 500,000 members and affiliates.

On August 1, gunmen opened fire on a vehicle carrying dignitaries of “Akidat” tribe, including “Sheikh Ibrahim Al-Hafal” and “Sheikh Matshar Al-Hafal”, the uncle of the head of “Akidat” tribe and one of the owners of the land where Al-Omar oil field is located. The attack, which took place in Theban town in the eastern countryside of Deir Ezzor, resulted in the death of “Sheikh Matshar Al-Hafal” and the car’s driver, while “Sheikh Ibrahim Al-Hafal” sustained serious injuries.

Another attack has targeted “Ali Al-Salman Al-Bakari” the head of Al-Dahla village in the eastern countryside of Deir Ezzor, he is also a senior dignitary of “Al-Bakarah” tribe, one of the largest Arab tribes in the region.

Yesterday,  Sheikh “Atliush Diaspora”, a notable of the Al-Akidat tribe, was killed, and his son was seriously wounded by unidentified gunfire on a motorcycle in the village of Hawaij Dhibyan in the southeastern countryside of Deir Al-Zour.

In september 2020, the “Akidat” tribe held SDF responsible for the series of assassinations against tribal elders and dignitaries, as SDF have not adopted the needed measures or procedures in order to control the security situation and put an end to the assassinations in areas under their control.

Syrian prominent politician and parliamentarian Fares Shehabi commented on the assassination. “It seems that the SDF gang has begun to take pleasure in killing the sheikhs of the Arab tribes in their areas of control.. and it seems that these tribes are still drugged with dollars!!”

Moreover, local watchdog SOHR activists monitored growing popular anger as well as the escalating protests and demonstrations in the wake of these repeated assassinations which were only met by SDF’s inaction, in addition to the increasing violations at SDF checkpoints during the recent security operation “Deterring Terrorism”, in which civilians were arrested, beaten and humiliated, while SDF members looted the houses they stormed.

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