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Who is behind wave of killings of tribal sheikhs in east Syria?

Syria's eastern province of Deir ez-Zor sees escalating tensions between Arab tribes and the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces.

Matsher Hamoud al-Hafl, a sheikh from the Akidat tribe, the largest in Syria’s eastern province of Deir ez-Zor, was killed and Sheikh Ibrahim Khalil Abboud al-Gedaan al-Hafl was wounded when unknown gunmen shot them in the village of Hawayej on Aug. 2 in the eastern countryside of Deir ez-Zor province.

The Akidat tribe is one of the largest Syrian tribes. It has between 700,000 to 800,000 members who live on the banks of the Euphrates River in Syria, and in Iraq and the Gulf states, a spokesman of the Supreme Council of Syrian Tribes and Clans, Modar al-Asaad, told Al-Monitor. Prominent figures in the tribe in Syria normally carry out mediation between the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and residents of Deir ez-Zor, particularly when it comes to taking families out of the al-Hol camp in eastern Hasakah province in exchange for money. The camp houses Islamic State (IS) families.

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