In continuation of the series of assassinations in Deir Ezzor province, specifically on 2 August 2020, an unknown armed group assassinated Sheikh Mutasher Hmoud al-Hifil, one of the most prominent tribal leaders of al-Akidat, one of the largest Arab tribes in the province, as well as a the top leader of the tribe, Ibrahim Khalil Abboud al-Jada’an Al-Hifil was also wounded in the attack. Sheikh Ibrahim is one of the most prominent tribal leaders in the region. The incident took place as the armed group opened fire directly on the vehicle carrying them near the village of Al-Hawaij in the town of Dhiban in the eastern countryside of Deir Ezzor.
Since the liberation of areas north of the Euphrates River in 2017 from the hands of the “Islamic State” and the control of the Syrian Democratic Forces, a number of people have been victims of this type of assassination, including Sheikh Ali Al-Wais, the Mukhtar of Al-Dahla village, and a member of Al-Bakara/Baqara clan, who was killed on July 31, 2020, the first day of Eid Al-Adha.
In addition to the mentioned incidents, the area witnessed a number of kidnappings and killings, and a number of villages faced armed skirmishes between residents from time to time as a result of long-standing disputes that resulted in the deaths of a number of civilians, including the incident on 2 August 2020, when the village of Gharaneej in the eastern district of Hajeen witnessed a gunfire between two families, killing and injuring a number of people. In addition, the region has increasingly witnessed frequent cases of armed robbery in markets, prompting shopkeepers to hire night guards to protect their belongings and livelihoods.
Despite the fact that most areas of the eastern countryside of Deir Ezzor province suffer from clear security lapses, most of the security lapses have been concentrated in specific towns for years, yet the SDF’s security and military forces have not dealt effectively restoring security, protecting civilians, preventing the recurrence of this type of incidents, and their security operations have not yielded significant results. Some security operations have increased the tension in the region, owing to the human rights violations that have been committed such as arbitrary arrests and thefts of some individuals’ belongings.
out of the most important shortcomings are that the local military authorities, represented by SDF, have not intervened to resolve armed conflicts, hold those involved accountable, reduce the chaos of the proliferation and use of weapons, and have not strengthened security measures to avoid future recurrence of such incidents.
The undersigned organizations condemn in the strongest terms the assassination of a Sheikh of the Arab Al-Akidat tribe, condemn incitement and inciting hatred in society and among its Kurdish and Arab components, and affirm the right to enjoy security, and condemn the failure of the security forces to carry out their duties to reduce it, which poses a direct threat to the lives and interests of tens of thousands of residents and displaced persons.
Therefore, the undersigned organizations call on the US-led International Anti-Terrorism Coalition and SDF to act within a specified time and under the supervision of a committee formed by them, community figures, and civil society to work on:
- To open a transparent and urgent investigation into the assassination of Sheikh Al-Hifil and other assassinations, announce the results to the residents of the region in a transparent manner and bring the perpetrators to account.
- To hold security officials accountable for maintaining their failure and informing the Syrian public about the results of the investigations.
- To develop solutions to the state of insecurity with an organized and well participation of the populations and military specialists who are accepted at the local level in order to protect their areas.
- To open a wide dialogue under the auspices of the committee between the decision-makers in the Autonomous Administration with all community forces about the most prominent problems facing the populations of the region, especially with regard to governance, development and local participation.
The Statement Signatories
- Development Without Borders Organization
- Justice for life – JFL
- PÊL- Civil Waves
- Sanad Humanitarian Organization
- Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression
- Syrians for Truth and Justice – STJ
- Syria Justice and Accountability Center
- TEVNA Kurdi
- The Day After
- Urnammu for justice & human rights