Locals from Diban, located in Syria's Deir ez-Zour Province, speak of a return of produce, goods & services to market in the town
Locals from Diban in Deir ez-Zour Province have expressed their relief at the growing number of services and produce available in the town.
While some residents say that water, electricity and irrigation systems are still lacking, the availability of produce in markets, as well as the reopening of markets themselves, are signs that life is coming back to this area.
Diban, also known as Theban or Dheban, is located just east of the town of Mayadin across the Euphrates River. When Syrian Government forces captured the town of Mayadin from ISIS in mid-October 2017, they subsequently crossed the Euphrates and captured Diban, thus protecting themselves from attacks from militants across the river.
However, a little over a week later on the 25th October, ISIS militants re-entered Mayadin, thus forcing the government soldiers to focus efforts away from Diban. The resulting fighting allowed the Syrian Democratic Forces, which are the coalition of groups that captured the city of Raqqa, to exploit the vacuum and take control of the town.
The SDF capture of Diban represented part of their wider operation in the region, which was labelled Jazira Storm. This was a separate yet simultaneous charge to the Syrian Government’s offensive, both of which attempted to capture territory across the oil-rich Deir ez-Zour Countryside.
The Jazira Storm operations began just before the capture of Raqqa City in September 2017 and swept through large swaths of the Deir ez-Zour Countryside, removing hundreds of towns and villages from ISIS control.
Currently, both sides hold sizeable territory in the province and are effectively demarcated by the Euphrates River.
Following the fighting and the removal of ISIS from the area, life has begun to flourish once again. Locals say goods are back in the market and the prices are reasonable.
Residents from the town of Basira, located approximately 15km upstream from Diban, have also witnessed a resurgence of goods and activity, and even a new bus garage, which links several prominent cities in the region, including Deir ez-Zour and Hasakah.