Is trouble brewing for the SDF in Deir Ezzor?

Shelly Kittleson writes in Al-Monitor about the latest in Deir Ezzor and anger among local Arab residents, as well as resentment towards the SDF. This area was liberated from ISIS control between the fall of 2017 and early 2019.

One man says: “Our village has been subjected many times to raids by the SDF and coalition forces looking for IS fighters…They sneak into the village, killing anyone outside or who opens his door.”

She notes: “A meeting between the SDF and the dominant tribe, the Oegaidat, was held following the raid in a bid to defuse tension. It took place at the nearby al-Omar oil field, where international coalition troops are stationed.”

The conclusion is that more protests are expected against the SDF. This is a key area for stabilization and the US-led Coalition, particularly the US, wants to make sure that any tensions in Syria do no boil over. Tensions can feed the ISIS insurgency or support for the Syrian regime or give Iran an opening, and it inevitably will fuel tensions with Turkey which is calling for a safe zone in the north. The US has already created its own complications by saying it would leave in December, only to decide to stay.

Now with ISIS defeated on the ground in late March, the question is what comes next.


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