DEIR EZ-ZOR, Syria (North Press) – Senior official in the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria said on Thursday the riots occurred in Syria’s eastern Deir ez-Zor were pushed by regional powers.
Ghassan Al-Youssef, co-chair of the Deir ez-Zor Civil Council, told North Press that groups linked to the Islamic State (ISIS), the Syrian regime and Iranian militias are behind the riots in the countryside of Deir ez-Zor.
Deir ez-Zor province has been witnessing disorder since last week after operations carried out by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to eliminate the ISIS sleeper cells.
Al-Youssef condemned assassinating tribal and community leaders in the region last week.
He also called on the US-led global coalition against ISIS to provide more support to eliminate the remnants of ISIS.
He added that Deir ez-Zor region is of a strategic importance in addition to its richness in natural resources.
“Deir ez-Zor is the focus of many regional powers, including the Syrian government forces, the Iranian forces and Turkey by supporting their proxies on the ground in Syria,” he said.
On Tuesday, the town of Hawaij, in the eastern countryside of Deir ez-Zor, witnessed attacks by masked gunmen on SDF points in addition to protesters demanded investigation of the assassination of a tribal leader of al-Egidat tribe last week.
The SDF said in a statement they launched an operation in Deir ez-Zor on Wednesday in coordination with the Internal Security Forces, SDF-affiliated police force known as Asayish, in the towns of Al-Shuhayl and Al-Hawaij, targeting ISIS sleeper cells.
Al-Youssef further explained that after SDF liberated the region, ISIS sleeper cells have been very active in Deir ez-Zor region,
“The carried out many terrorist acts,” he added.
He said that the terrorist acts targeted the tribal and community leaders in addition to SDF fighters and elements of the SDF-linked security forces.
Al-Youssef denounced “terrorist acts” that targeted tribal leaders, civilians, and SDF fighters.
“There are many groups and powers attempting to destabilize the security of our region and stir up sedition, and those powers are planning their acts from outside the region and also operating in Deir ez-Zor," he said.
Al-Youssef also thanked the US Embassy in Damascus for its stance on the assassination of al-Egidat tribe leader Sheikh Mutashhar Al-Hamoud Al-Jadaan Al-Hafl and the injury of the vice leader Sheikh Ibrahim Al-Khalil Al-Aboud Al-Jadaan Al-Hafl.
The two tribal leaders were attacked by unknown persons last week on the first day of Eid Al-Adha festival, while returning from a tribal reconciliation conference.
The US Embassy in Damascus condemned the attack that targeted the tribal leaders of al-Egidat tribe.
“Violence against civilians is unacceptable and impedes the hope for a lasting political resolution to the conflict in Syria in line with UN Security Council resolution 2254,” the Embassy statement reads. “We reiterate our support for a nationwide ceasefire in Syria, as called for by UN Special Representative Geir Pedersen.”
Al-Youssef concluded his speech by reiterating that Deir ez-Zor Civil Council would carry on their work to reform the infrastructure and revitalize the economy of the region.
“The council stands with the demands of the people and clans to provide security and improve the situation of the region,” he said.
(Editing by Hisham Arafat)