The undersigned organizations call for prioritizing the protection of civilians and addressing the root causes that led to the recent conflict

On 27 August 2023, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) announced in a statement published on their official website the launch of Operation “Security Reinforcement” in areas they control in Deir Ezzor province. The statement outlined the objectives of the operation as aimed at “eradicating the ISIS terrorist cells; thwarting their potential attacks; pursuing criminals responsible for perpetrating injustices against the local population; enforcing the law; and tracking down smugglers who exploit the populace’s livelihoods.

On 30 August 2023, the SDF made a second statement, announcing their  decision to dismiss the Commander of the Deir Ezzor Military Council, Ahmed al-Kh’bail (Abu Khawlah). The statement said that the arrest was carried out upon the order of the Public Prosecution in North-eastern Syria (NES).

In the early days of Operation “Security Reinforcement”, clashes between the SDF-commissioned forces and the Deir Ezzor Military Council were limited to several towns and villages in the northern countryside of Deir Ezzor province, notably in the town of Al-Busayrah. Later, the confrontations expanded to several areas in the province’s eastern countryside, including the towns of Theeban and al-Shuhail.

In another field development, hundreds of armed tribal elements joined the confrontations. Several tribal figures emphasized that the tribal armed groups were not defending the Deir Ezzor Military Council and its leader, Ahmed al-Kh’bail, but that they were driven by their own demands, including their right to secure their areas.

Over the past few days, numerous statements have been made by tribal leaders, dignitaries, civil society activists, and intellectuals. They stressed the necessity of ceasing hostilities to spare civilians’ lives. They also highlighted the negative humanitarian and security consequences for the residents and the region if clashes continue. Additionally, the U.S.-led Coalition issued a statement on 1 September  2023, calling for a ceasefire in Deir Ezzor.

The current situation has resulted in civilian casualties; multiple deaths and injuries have been recorded, while the continuation of hostilities threatens to deprive the population of essential supplies as many routes leading to Deir Ezzor have been severed. Moreover, there have been attempts at exploiting the current security chaos by several groups involved in the hostilities, many of which have attacked public and private properties, such as water pumping stations and hospitals, amidst heightened concerns that other groups may take advantage of the current upheavals to sow discord among the NES components.

Considering the situation relayed above, the undersigned organizations call for an immediate ceasefire by all parties and cooperation to restore calm to Deir Ezzor province through direct dialogue. Additionally, the organizations strongly condemn the media campaigns that accompanied the recent turmoil and their attempts to depict the situation as a “Kurdish-Arab” dispute. They, therefore, demand an end to media incitement against any Syrian component.

The undersigned organizations call for prioritizing the protection of civilians and holding all those allegedly involved in violations against civilians accountable. Therefore, they demand that:

First: Syrian Democratic Forces and the U.S.-led Coalition:

  • Expedite the provision of essential supplies to areas of Deir Ezzor affected by the hostilities, neutralize public utilities, ensure the delivery of humanitarian aid, and facilitate the movement of humanitarian organizations to assist the affected.
  • Establish an independent legal committee to initiate a transparent and independent investigation into attacks against civilians during the recent events in the affected areas of Deir Ezzor and ensure justice for all wronged individuals.

Second: Autonomous Administration and the Syrian Democratic Council:

  • Immediately address the local demands by commencing discussions that ensure the active participation of Deir Ezzor’s residents. To achieve this, they must hold consultations with local community representatives, tribal leaders, civil society organizations, intellectuals, and independent individuals, including on the cooperation with local leadership to select suitable representatives for civil and security administrations.
  • Adopt clear and serious oversight and accountability mechanisms to prevent violations against civilians and impunity. This should be done in consultation with local community representatives and civil society organizations.

Third: Local Community Representatives, Tribal Leaders, Civil Society Organizations, Intellectuals, and Independent Individuals in Deir Ezzor:

  • Launch local consultations to involve civil leadership and civil society activists in developing a comprehensive vision for civil and security administration in the region.
  • Engage in negotiations with the Syrian Democratic Forces and the U.S.-led Coalition to convey the demands of the local community related to their involvement in civil and security administrations.

Undersigned Organizations in Alphabetical Order:

  1. Al-Diyar society
  2. Amal for development
  3. Analysis and Strategic Studies Organization (ASO)
  4. Anwar algad
  5. Ashna for development
  6. Awda for development
  7. Baytna
  8. Better Tomorrow organization
  9. Bridges of peace for development
  10. D.R
  11. Center for Civil Society and Democracy /CCSD
  12. Coalition of civil society organizations in north east Syria
  13. Community Solidarity Organization
  14. Country Raqqa Organization
  15. DAR Association for Victims of Forced Displacement
  16. Deirna organization
  17. Ella Organization For Development and Peacebuilding
  18. Ensaf for development
  19. Eridu center for civil society and democracy
  20. Euphrates NGO
  21. Fajr
  22. For Them Organisation
  23. ForFeminist
  24. Future Makers Team
  25. Hamzet wasel
  26. alfurat
  27. HDF Humanitarian
  28. HLOM
  29. Human Organization for Construction and Development
  30. Jasmine Association
  31. Justice for Life
  32. Medical Relief for Syria
  33. PÊL- Civil Waves
  34. Qadar Organization
  35. Rose organization for support and empowerment
  36. Sahem Organization for Cooperation and Development
  37. SALAM organization
  38. SANAD Humanitarian Organization
  39. Share for Community Develooment
  40. Shawshaka Association for Women
  41. Sphere for Development
  42. Swaedna Organization for Relief and Development
  43. Synergy Association for Victims
  44. Syria Justice and Accountability Centre
  45. Syriac Strategic Research Centre
  46. Syrian Forum
  47. Syrian Yazidi Union
  48. Syrians for Truth and Justice – STJ
  49. Tal-Abiyad Forum for civil society
  50. Tara Organisation
  51. Tayif Humanitarian Organization
  52. The Day After
  53. Together For Deir Ezzor
  54. TOTOL Foundation
  55. Urnammu for Justice & Human Rights
  56. Women Now for Development
  57. Youth for change
  58. Zameen for development and peacebuilding
  59. Zorna Organization for Development