Clashes erupt in Deir Ezzor

In Deir Ezzor, clashes have erupted between local Arab communities and the People’s Defense Unit (YPG), the group dominating governance and military institutions in NE Syria, due to long-standing grievances against the YPG, including exclusionary policy-making, abusive practices, civilian arrests, lack of protection against ISIS, and economic neglect, all conducted by the YPG. 

Local leaders in Deir Ezzor are urgently appealing for increased pressure on the YPG to cease their military and security operations and instead engage in negotiations with local representatives. This critical step is essential to ensuring the region's security, stability, and ongoing counter-terrorism efforts.

The American Coalition for Syria (ACS) strongly supports the legitimate grievances expressed by residents of Deir Ezzor province against the systematic marginalization and mismanagement by YPG. Since the establishment of the Syrian Democratic Forces, the US partner force in Syria, in 2015, Arab communities have been the bridgehead for the United States’ efforts to counter and defeat ISIS. Yet, despite their continuous sacrifices, local communities, including Arabs, Assyrians, and others, have been marginalized and discriminated against by the YPG and its foreign leadership. The American Coalition for Syria supports calls for inclusive and representative governance that accurately reflects the needs of the local population. Arab tribal leadership must be granted a meaningful role within the Autonomous Administration and its military arm, the SDF,  to uphold regional stability, foster economic development, and ensure the enduring defeat of Daesh, with the steadfast backing of the US-led International Coalition.

The American Coalition for Syria condemns the YPG’s violent response to address these demands, leading to tragic casualties, arrests, and widespread displacement. ACS is deeply concerned about the YPG’s abuse of SDF resources including the implementation of sieges, curfews, and the subsequent shortages of essential resources in the region, including power, water, and vital commodities. Furthermore, the YPG’s exclusionary policies and disregard for local customs in Deir Ezzor pose a significant threat to the structure and longevity of the SDF as an effective force against ISIS and the longstanding stabilization efforts. The situation raises serious security concerns, as the Assad regime forces, Iranian-backed militias, and ISIS could exploit the instability near the Mission Support Site Conoco and Green Village US military bases. 

The American Coalition for Syria calls on the Biden administration to exert the necessary pressure on the YPG to halt their military and security operations and instead engage in constructive negotiations with local representatives to ensure their fair representation within the SDF and other governing bodies in NE Syria. This step is necessary to safeguard the region's security and stability, protect American soldiers in Syria, and reduce the risk of jeopardizing ongoing counter-terrorism efforts.

Main Points:

  • Support for Inclusive Governance: We strongly support the demands of local communities in Deir Ezzor for an inclusive and representative governance system. It's crucial that political and military representation accurately reflects the local population.
  • Arab Tribal Leadership: We recognize the importance of granting local communities an active decision-making role within the Syrian Democratic Forces and other governance bodies within NE Syria. This is essential for regional political stability, meaningful economic development, and ensuring the enduring defeat of Daesh with the support of our US-led International Coalition.
  • Condemnation of the Use of Force: We condemn the use of military force by the YPG to address these grievances. The resulting casualties, arrests, and displacement are deeply troubling, and we call for a peaceful resolution.
  • Humanitarian Concerns: The siege, curfew, and shortages of essential resources in Deir Ezzor are causing significant humanitarian concerns. Power, water, food, fuel, infant formula, and medications must be made available to the local population.