2019 Deir ez-Zor Protests
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Template:Infobox civil conflict Template:Campaignbox Rojava Revolution The 2019 Deir ez-Zor Protests began on 23 April 2019 in the cities of Al-Busayrah and Shuhail in the eastern part of the Deir ez-Zor Governorate under the control of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces since capturing them from ISIL between 2017 and 2018.
Protests have occurred throughout SDF-held areas in Deir ez-Zor, the protests have centered on the issues of marginalization and discrimination of the Arab majority by Kurdish forces such as those of the People's Protection Units (YPG), which is a major component of the multi-ethnic SDF, as well as forced conscription by SDF, selling of oil resources to the Syrian Government, arbitrary arrests on allegations of individuals being linked to ISIL with little to no evidence, protestors also claimed that SDF prisons are dominated by Arabs while Kurds are left alone, the lack of security is also a concern of the protestors. During the protests the Syrian Democratic Forces reportedly used live fire to disperse protestors in some villages.
In response to the protests, SDF commander Mazloum Kobani denied claims of racism, claiming SDF was the only faction in Syria that isn't racist, while SDF itself had initially declined to comment on the protests against its administration. Khalil al-Nabir another SDF commander with the Deir ez-Zor military council accused Iran, Turkey and the Syrian government of instigating destabilization in areas under the control of SDF, he also alleged the locals of the area are supporters of ISIL and al-Nusra, stating that the village of Shuhail is a stronghold for al-Nusra while the village of Jadidat Agidat is a stronghold for ISIL, and that cells of these organizations continue to exist in the region and contribute to ongoing violence and opposition to SDF.
Protestors have claimed as a result of SDF sale of oil to the government, it has caused local prices to increase by as much as 30 percent.
On 23 April, protests began in a series of towns between Busayrah and Shuhail, protesters burned tires on the highway between Deir ez-Zor and Hasakah blocking trucks transporting oil to government held areas in light of sanctions imposed on Iran, by the United States, with the protestors demanding the end to SDF's sale of oil. During the protests demonstrators chanted "Where is our oil?" in response to SDF's sales. As protests went on the other concerns such as forced conscription and Kurdish hegemony also came up. In the town of Tayanah protestors held banners saying “In SDF prisons, Arabs are 100 percent and Kurds 0 percent. Where is Justice?,”. On the same day Syrian state media claimed that SDF was shooting live fire at protestors to break them up.
On 26 April, three civilians were reportedly killed by SDF gunfire during which protests demanded the expulsion of SDF from the area in the town of al-Azba in the northeastern part of the Deir ez-Zor governorate, during the protests businesses closed down as part of a general strike, protesters also cut the main road in the town.
On 28 April, protests occurred in the towns of al-Husain, Busayrah, and Tayyana. During the protests, demonstrators held banners claiming SDF prisons only held Arabs and not Kurds, others protested against poor living conditions and the lack of electricity, medical care, and a lack of water. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that SDF authorities forcibly broke up protests, and brought in armored vehicles to areas with protests, and that several protesters had been arrested by SDF. In the town of al-Husain pro-Syrian Opposition protests occurred, protesters expressed the desire to continue fighting the Syrian government until it is overthrown and wish for the return of the rebellion to eastern Syria claiming that “we will bring it back as it used to be”, the protests in al-Husain also denounced SDF's policies as racism under the guise of Democracy.
On 3 May, protesters in the village of al-Zagheer held demonstrations against SDF.
On 7 May, protests expanded to other parts of Deir ez-Zor including areas where oil production is done, during the protests protesters chanted “No to the theft of our oil!” A demonstrator told journalists that SDF is depriving locals of goods and resources and either sparing them for Kurds or selling them to the government, the increase in protests also reportedly come after a failure to come to an agreement with local tribes, the protests also continued to demand an end to forced conscription and release of prisoners held by SDF.
On 9 May, protesters in the town of Shuhail burned down an SDF checkpoint. The protests were intensified after SDF killed six people during a raid against an alleged ISIL cell in the town. During the protests in Shuhail a protester was reportedly killed by the Syrian Democratic Forces.
On 11 May, gunmen attacked a YPG headquarters in the town of Shuhail as protests were ongoing in the town, during the attack the headquarters was reportedly destroyed.
On 13 May, After a meeting with YPG officials the Uqaydat tribe released a statement condemning YPG and calling upon them to evacuate from Arab areas along with the US-led coalition. The tribe also demanded that YPG release prisoners and refugee camps, and compared the camps to concentration camps.
On 25 June 2019, protests against YPG resumed with store owners and workers going on strike in the city of Busayrah. Residents say that the protests are in response to YPG abuses including an assault and robbery of a jewler in the town. During the protests, protestors repotedly also prevented YPG vehciles and oil trucks from entering the town.
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