The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have sent more reinforcements to the cities and towns under their control in the eastern countryside of Deir ez-Zor, causing residents to panic about the possibility of a campaign of raids and arrests.
According to the Neda Post news agency, the SDF has sent large reinforcements from the Asayish (special forces) units from the provinces of Hasakah and Raqqa to the eastern countryside of Deir ez-Zor. The reinforcements have set up dozens of checkpoints all around the countryside, starting from the al-Sur district to the al-Baghouz district on the Iraqi-Syrian border.
The deployment of the new reinforcements is being supervised by leaders of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) of non-Syrian nationalities. The deployment of these forces coincided with the withdrawal of most of the checkpoints of the Deir ez-Zor Military Council from the areas adjacent to those controlled by the Syrian regime and the Iranian militias on the other side. The Deir ez-Zor Military Council has been confined to the area extending between the towns of Jadid Akidat and al-Shahil.
Locals fear that the SDF is tightening its control over the areas that have been witnessing popular protests against its policy in the region. Local sources confirm that most of the recent moves are aimed at curtailing the role of the Deir ez-Zor Military Council, the sole representative of the region within the SDF’s military command.
The SDF has not commented on the deployment of the new reinforcements or the reasons for it. However, the move has raised concerns among residents about the future of the region and the possibility of an increase in human rights abuses by the SDF.