SYRIA (North Press) – Members of the Akidat tribe in the Syrian government-held areas in Deir ez-Zor, announced on Sunday the establishment of a military formation called Akidat Army and a tribal council to start a popular resistance against American troops and the Coalition-backed Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in north Syria.
This came after bloody events in the eastern Deir ez-Zor countryside last week, when masked gunmen attacked SDF points during demonstrations calling for an investigation of the assassination of a member of the Akidat clan. During those attacks a number of SDF soldiers lost their lives.
In a meeting that was held in Syrian government-held areas in Deir ez-Zor, they announced the Akidat Army as an armed military wing of Akidat clans council.
Some opponents believe that the Syrian government imposed this formation on the Akidat clan living in its areas, while the Akidat clan in the government-held areas are only five percent of the tribe’s members in SDF-held areas.
A Lebanese newspaper affiliated with Hezbollah said on Monday that the Syrian government arms these groups and supports their movements aiming to target the SDF and American troops in the area.
The official Syrian government news agency SANA quoted the clan statement marking "the start of popular resistance against the American occupier and its tools, and considering them a legitimate target." SANA added that the statement called on "Sheikhs, heads of tribes, and those who are from the tribe affiliated with the occupier to return to the embrace of the homeland."
Lebanese news confirmed the statement's keenness to thank "the Syrian army, allies and friends of Syria, and president Bashar Assad."
Last week, masked gunmen attacked SDF points and the SDF-affiliated Deir ez-Zor Military Council in Hewij town in the east of the city, after demonstrations calling for an investigation of the assassination of a head of the Akidat clan.
The head of Deir ez-Zor military council, Ahmad Khabil, told North Press that ISIS sleeper cells, groups affiliated with the Syrian government, and Iranian troops joined the demonstration in order to fire on Deir ez-Zor Military Council forces and thr SDF in Hewij, where some fighters lost their lives. Moreover, they planted landmines in Ziban village.
He added that those who fired on their forces fled to the other side of the Euphrates, which is a government-held area. However, their forces managed to arrest some "rioters supported by the Syrian government," and they confessed that thr Syrian government and Iranian troops pushed them to attack the SDF.
SANA quoted Abdul Karim Hefel, a figure in Akidat clan and close to the Syrian government, who said in the meeting that the Akidat clan "will not accept the presence of any occupier on their land, and they will continue to resist against the American occupier and its aides in Syria. "
Local and Arab media reported the announcement of Nawaf Fares, a sheikh of Damim clan from the Akidat tribe, who was the head of one of the branches of the Syrian Political Security, the first Syrian Ambassador in Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime, and later defected from the Syrian government.
Fares said in his announcement that "the Syrian government forced some personalities of Akidat tribe in its areas to form a political council and a military wing to take advantage of what happened in SDF-held areas."
Fares added that "Two days ago, Syrian security services met with some personalities after what happened in Jazira, and ordered them to respond to SDF statements, and they also prepared the statement for them."
He pointed out that Akidat tribe members in the government areas "Cannot reject the government orders. They are a minority; they are about 5% of those who are living in Deir ez-Zor after the Syrian government destroyed their areas."
Before the tribal statement, the Syrian government described American forces as an occupier that "illegally entered Syrian territory," and repeatedly urged the clans to target and fight Americans there.
The American Embassy in Damascus issued two statements on its Facebook account in which it condemned the attacks on two figures of Akidat clan, Sheikh Mutasher Hamod Jadaan Hafal and Sheikh Ibrahim Khalil Abod Jadaan Hafal.
In a statement that was issued on Monday, SDF General Command accused Turkey and the Syrian government of implementing a plan in Deir ez-Zor that targets the civil peace between the tribes and the civil administration in the area, and mobilizes the tribes against the SDF and Global Coalition.
Meanwhile, tribal sheikhs in Raqqa, Tabqa, and Hasakah condemned in several statements the assassination of a figure of Akidat clan in Deir ez-Zor, accusing the Syrian government and ISIS cells of carrying it out and fuelling events in Deir Ez-Zor, and declared their solidarity with SDF. They demanded that it investigate the assassination and maintain the security and stability there.