Anti-YPG protests grow in Syria’s Deir al-Zor residents
AMMAN – Reuters
Arab inhabitants of Syria’s Deir al-Zor began a third week of pro-tests against the rule of YPG, the largest wave of unrest to sweep the oil-rich region since the U.S.-backed forces took over the territory from ISIL nearly 18 months ago, residents, witnesses and tribal figures said.
The YPG is the Syrian arm of the outlawed PKK, a group listed as terrorist by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU.
The protests which erupted weeks ago in several towns and vil-lages from Busayrah to Shuhail have now spread to remaining areas where most of the oilfields are located in the YPG con-trolled part of Deir al-Zor, east of the Euphrates.
Arab residents under YPG rule who have been complaining of lack of basic services and discrimination against them in local administrations have been growing restive in recent months.
The forcible conscription of youths into the YPG as well as the fate of thousands imprisoned in their jails have been major bones of contention, according to residents and tribal figures.
“Their repressive rule has turned many against them,” said Abdul Latif al Okaidat, a tribal leader.
The protests took a violent turn when angry mobs took to the streets and disrupted the routes of convoys of trucks loaded with oil from nearby fields that cross into government held areas.
In some villages, YPG fired at angry protesters, Reuters said.
No to the theft of our oil!” chanted demonstrators in the town of Greinej, part of the Arab-Sunni tribal heartland seized over a year ago by the Pentagon-backed YPG.
The YPG has long sold crude oil to the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad, with whom it maintains close eco-nomic ties and exports wheat and other commodities through several crossings between their territory.