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Syrian tribes become a winning card as warring parties seek its support

 Translation by Yusra Ahmed

(Zaman Al Wasl)- Arab tribes have always been a winning card for any party wanted to control the Eastern region and Aljazeera in Syria.

Russia is now and after the truce of cessation of hostilities tying to obtain the trust of Arab tribes, especially they are accused by the U.S. as the cradle of Nusra front while Raqqa is now the capital of the Islamic State, despite killing hundreds of tribes’ youth by ISIS in July 2014, and later more people of the tribes were killed by ISIS’s enemies.

Responsible in the Kurdish Self Administration have realised the importance of Arab tribes, therefore, they started holding meetings with prominent or ordinary figures of tribes and introduced them as representatives of their tribes, as an attempt to cover the fact that most Arab people in the region reject the Kurdish federal System and self-administration.

The latest meeting was the one called for by Shammar tribe's Sheikh, Hamidi Daham Jarba, who share Self Administration with the Democratic Union party (PYD), representatives of tribes within the Self Administration attended the meeting as well.

Hawar, the Kurdish news agency close the (PYD), in an attempt to show new faces from Arab tribes to replace known figures, reported Jarba’s speech in the meeting: “we are who attending this meeting are the owners of Ajazeera an no one outside the meeting has the right to speak in name of the Arabic components”.

Thamer Shlash, Head of the Syrian Tribes Coalition, explained that all powers including the regime and the Islamic State want to get tribes’ support because they realise their importance in Aljazeera region, therefore they try to obtain support from members of these tribes even if they were not so prominent to present and exaggerate the disagreement among tribes.

Shlash in his talk to Zaman Al Wasl detailed that Hamidi Daham Jarba and his alliance in Self Administration follow the same principle, but in different way as they show many prominent figures who support Kurds attending meetings and gatherings in areas under their control to show that they have public support, therefore, they defame the Arab tribes and show them as supportive to the Federal System.

The Head of Arab Tribes’ Coalition called people of tribes to be cautious and refuse to get committed in battles under the U.S. led alliance in North and East of Syria without guarantee that they would participate in the operation room and managing the Arabic areas by their people and demand the U.S. led alliance to determine its position either fighting the Islamic State or supporting the Kurdish militias, which are as criminal as the Islamic State. He held the alliance responsibility for crimes committed by Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) led by (PYD).

Shlash detailed that tribal and familial system is the only bonds left within the Arabic tribal areas because they have not got committed in parties or groups, which make them target for others to get their support, and for the same reason, U.S. alliance stay away from supporting them, fearing of becoming powers under warlords control in future.

Modar Hammad al-Asaad, spokesman of Eastern Front and council of Arab tribes explained that controlling Eastern region by ISIS and PYD were behind founding the council, as Arab people were forced to leave areas liberated by the Free Syrian Army.

In a statement to Zaman Al Wasl, al-Asaad explained that Sheikhs and leaders of tribes in Aljazeera, Countryside of Aleppo and Syrian Badiya have met with officer of the Free Syrian Army headed by Nawaf al-Bashir, the Sheikh of Bakara tribe to express and show the real presentation of Arab tribes and confirm their power and support to the Syrian revolution. He mentioned that hundreds of youth form Arab tribes are being trained by officers of the (FSA).

Al-Asaad explained: “Arabs who attended “Tal Alo” conference on behalf of our tribes are only represent themselves and Syrian regime and PYD, they are not known as prominent figure in the tribe.”

All these meeting and activities have coincided with the announcement that (PYD) have finished searching the Arabic villages in order to let people return to their houses after months of displacement, but returned people reported that their housed were destroyed and looted.

Militias of Syrian Democratic Forces running a campaign to recruit Arab youth to fight with them against the Islamic State, but Arab people there consider Kurds as “occupiers” and try to run away to Turkey and Raqqa.

Islamic State has since 2014 controlled regions of Arab tribes in North and East of Syria in provinces of Raqqa, Dier Eszzor, hasaka, Aleppo, Hama and Homs. It lost control of some areas where they became under control of PYD and alliance.

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