Last April, protests were sparked in many villages and towns located in Syria Democratic Forces (SDF) held areas, north of the Euphrates River, in Deir ez-Zor province. The areas of Shuhail, Gharaneej, Abou Hamam, al-Tayyana in the eastern countryside along with al-Kasra, Mhaimeeda, Sfeera, Hammar al-Ali, and al-Zghair in the western countryside witnessed protests which gradually increased in numbers.
Protestors burnt tires and carried banners. The residents of Mhaimeeda drove the public security out of the village on Apr. 28, 2019. The protestors had demands of the civil councils and SDF and confirmed that the protests will continue and be increased if there is no response.
In addition to the protests, villages sent messages through community leaders to SDF, which included specific demands.
The Public Security forces arrested dozens of protestors, beating them before they were released, similar to what happened in al-Tayyana village.
Protestors demanded the following:
- Evicting the non-Syrian members from the area.
- Involving residents effectively in the management of their affairs.
- Releasing detainees who are not indicted for having relations with the Islamic State, or any other charge.
- Decreasing the fuel prices and stop smuggling fuel.
- Enhancing water and electricity services, especially in the eastern countryside areas.
- Pursuing all corrupted members and holding them accountable.
Civil Society as a Party That Can Take an Action
Local activists established many organizations and civil initiatives in many sectors such as relief, education, services, and mine action awareness, which received limited funds from international donors. These organizations formed a space of interaction between the residents, along with their problems, and what is provided by international organizations and civil councils. Yet, these organizations faced obstacles made by the civil councils such as rejected permits for some organizations, delayed ones for others and limiting work in specific areas, where in one case at least, the civil councils did not respond to initiatives working in human rights.
This article was edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.