Sheikh Musab al-Hafel, the leader of the Akidat tribe, recently disclosed that he held a meeting at the US embassy in Doha with a representative from the US Department of Defense (Pentagon) and the head of the embassy’s political section. This meeting took place at the outset of the clashes in Deir-ez-Zor between the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and various Arab tribes.
These confrontations, now in their second week, initially erupted following the SDF’s arrest of local council leaders in Deir-ez-Zor. Subsequently, they escalated to involve multiple tribes who perceived this as an opportunity to assert their rights and resist attempts by Kurdish members associated with the PKK to exert dominance over their territories, as per reports from observers.
In an interview with al-Jazeera Net, Sheikh Hafel explained that the purpose of the meeting was to convey the demands of the eastern Syrian tribes and collaborate with the international coalition present in the region to defuse the tension.
He emphasized that the meeting, which was announced by the US embassy in Damascus, did not include representation from the Akidat tribe or its allies. Instead, those in attendance were sheikhs affiliated with the SDF.
It’s important to note that Sheikh Hafel refuted any connections between the Arab tribes’ movement and the Syrian regime or Iran. He clarified that their actions were solely driven by the need to assert their rights and halt the SDF’s perceived encroachments in the region. He also stated that there were no communications with Turkey, nor did they receive any support from Ankara for their cause.
Sheikh Hafel urged the international coalition to intervene and mediate in the conflict by exerting pressure on the SDF. He noted that the SDF had been unresponsive to calls for de-escalation. Simultaneously, he emphasized that the tribes were unwavering in their commitment to their dignity, stating, “We are prepared to face any threat with honor, or to live with pride. We do not fear anyone’s intimidation.”
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.