Conflict

The role of tribes in countering ISIS in Hasakah, Syria

Syria

According to tribal leaders in Hasakah, Syria, tribes have a crucial role in countering terrorism in the region. The leaders demand amnesty for their innocent prisoners, and punishment for the ones who participated in the destruction of the city.

Eastern Syria is home to several tribes that have been involved in the civil conflict, taking various sides since its outbreak. In the north-eastern province of Hasakah, a number of tribes fought along with fighters from the People’s Protection Units (YPG) to repel ISIS, while others decided to cooperate with the terrorist group.

One town with a significant tribal population is Shaddadi. The battle to oust ISIS brought together the Sanadid Forces, made up of members of the Arab Shammar tribe, and YPG fighters. Shaddadi was eventually liberated thanks to these joint efforts in early 2016.

Since the liberation of Shaddadi and the rest of Hasakah Province, the Syrian Democratic Council, led primarily by the Kurdish-dominated Democratic Union party (PYD), extended its political rule and influence to the province. The local tribes have since cooperated with the Syrian Democratic Council and have been incorporated to a certain degree into the region’s political system.

The Tribal Council of Shaddadi has been administering the affairs of the tribes in the town. A member from the Council has condemned the members of tribes that colluded with ISIS and is looking for them to receive punishment for their actions. The Council is working closely with the Civilian Council of Shaddadi, affiliated with the Syrian Democratic Council.

The province of Hasakah is now mostly under the control of the Syrian Democratic Council after it was taken militarily by the Syrian Democratic Forces, with only a couple of small pockets of territories controlled by the Syrian regime.

Different tribes have had varying responses to the overarching political rule of the Syrian Democratic Council and the presence its military wing, the SDF. There have been cases in parts of northern Syria under the control of the Syrian Democratic Council where tribes have protested against their alleged conscription into the SDF.

Image: Aso Network