The forgotten Deir Ezzor

(From the depths of Nusra Front to the darkness of Daesh)

This study addresses the developments that occurred in the province of Deir Ezzor, east Syria, over the past years. Despite the fact that the province was subjected to a systematic exclusion by the Assad regime that drove it to embark on the ship of the revolution, the study does not focus on what the province went through, but it is an attempt to clarify the social and civilian structures of Deir Ezzor.

In addition, it is also an attempt to grasp the economic and geographic motives that led the extremists, represented by the Nusra Front and Daesh, to occupy the province by the elimination of the FSA factions who liberated around 90 percent of the province’s territory.

The systematic economic and social exclusion witnessed by Deir Ezzor was among the main reasons that drove the province to rebel against the Assad regime. Days after the revolution began; Deir Ezzor was among the first who joined it. Hundreds of thousands civilians would hold protests against the dictatorial regime in cities such as Muhassan, Al-Mayadin and others regularly. In response to the protests, the Assad regime deployed its military arsenal and took revenge on the peaceful protesters by perpetrating dozens of appalling and horrific massacres against them.

The study begins with the phase of armed struggle in the province which was mainly caused by the excessive use of power by the regime against the peaceful protests. It continues to mention the changes and developments that took place following the ousting of the regime from the majority of the areas in the province.

The oil rich province attracted the attention of the Islamic extremists in an early time, which negatively affected the province as the race to the oil fields and other resources triggered bloody battles between them. Daesh took over all the resources and remained the only who benefit from them after succeeding in expelling of the Nusra Front from the entire province.

Daesh also bulldozed the border between Iraq and Syria following the seizure of Deir Ezzor, enabling the group to move freely and deploy reinforcements between both the countries to continue the fight against the other remaining areas in Syria.

The military events that have been taking place in Deir Ezzor since 2013 have deprived the locals of many of their rights. The atrocities and brutalities committed against civilians have driven many of them to look for ways to flee outside Deir Ezzor, while those who chose to remain are still struggling to secure their basic needs. This is why it is beyond expectations to witness a revolution of the locals against both, the Assad regime and Daesh.

Therefore, the liberation of the province from Daesh occupation depends on how much the international community is serious about this liberation; it is also related to the liberation of all of Syria from the dictatorship and extremists that are racing to make more gains on the ground of the country.

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