Skip to main content

Deir ez-Zor Arab fighters 'punished for refusal to join SDF'

A lack of support for local Arab armed groups in the fight to retake the Arab province of Deir ez-Zor and alleged subsequent abuses by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces may prove a threat to stability in this key geographical area.

GARANIJ, Syria — The Syrian Elite Forces (SEF) were meant to be a multi-tribe, moderate Arab armed group that would be instrumental in taking back their home province of Deir ez-Zor from the Islamic State (IS). It did not, however, end up that way.

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) led the fight against IS east of the Euphrates River with strong support from the anti-IS coalition. They are now administering the entire area.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.