Deir ez-Zor, Syria – A year ago, many tribes in the western and eastern environs of Deir ez-Zor city, east of Syria, pledged an allegiance to al-Qaeda offshoot group of the Islamic State (IS) –previously as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
According to those tribal groups in Deir ez-Zor, allegiance to IS (or ISIL) meant then a support to the Syrian rebellion against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.
“However, following the atrocities and brutal practices by IS militants, the same tribes rebelled against the group, accusing its members of suppression and persecution similar to what they long suffered by the Assad regime,” said Fayiz Abdulaziz, opposition activist based in Deir ez-Zor.
Abdulaziz told ARA News that members of the Islamic State built popularity among suppressed Syrians in the eastern areas through presenting themselves as anti-Assad rebels who across the borders from Iraq and many other countries to back their Sunni Muslim peers in Syria.
“In the phase when the rebels of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) where launching intensive military operations against the pro-Assad forces, militants of the IS when showing false sympathy with villagers in the eastern countryside of Deir ez-Zor, until they controlled those areas and started brutally suppressing civilians and forcing them to either submit to its rule and regulations or face death,” Abdulaziz, the Syrian opposition activist, stated to ARA News.
According to observers, this awakening among Arab tribal groups in Deir ez-Zor came late, and their efforts to attack IS ended up with failure after the latter established powerful strongholds in the area and forced thousands to leave.
“However, such anti-IS popular movement conveys a message to the group and its leadership that we will not accept another occupation after being liberated from Assad regime,” said Sleman Darwish, a media activist in Deir ez-Zor.
Darwish told ARA News that tribes in collaboration with some FSA factions expelled IS militants few months ago, before the group returns with military reinforcement from Iraq and control many areas of Deir ez-Zor.
“The shortage of qualitative weapons weakened the FSA in Deir ez-Zor,” he said.
According to local sources, IS killed and imprisoned members of those tribes for different charges. Hence, families protested then armed clashes took place in many IS-held villages in the area.
The regime paves the way to IS
Opposition activists mentioned to ARA News IS withdrawal from many areas to the outskirts of the villages of al-Shwit, al-She’tat and Swidan Jazeera, following massive attacks by rebels of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and other local tribal fighters.
“IS lost many checkpoints that were bombarded, with their members, by the FSA and tribes’ rebels,” activists reported.
Meanwhile, with its rockets, the regime carried out on Tuesday air raids against al-Tayana village, coinciding with IS intrusion into the village.
Speaking to ARA News in Deir ez-Zor, civil activist Hussein Zyab reported: “The pro-regime military carries out massive military attacks on areas of Deir ez-Zor, then hands them over to militants of the Islamic State.”
Zyab concluded that the Assad regime is willing to hand the entire Syrian territory over to Lebanese Hezbollah fighters, Iraqi Shiite militias and IS only for the sake of weakening the Free Syrian Army and other revolutionary forces.
Reporting by: Saleh Adam
Source: ARA News
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