Deir e-Zor battles intensify, residents launch plea for help


June 11, 2014

June 11, 2014

Local media activists launched a social media campaign Tuesday in response to clashes in the oil rich province of Deir e-Zor.

The region is currently a battleground between three groups: Assad regime forces, the al-Qaeda splinter group Islamic State of Iraq and a-Sham (ISIS) and opposition forces led by Jabhat a-Nusra.

The “Deir e-Zor Needs Your Help” campaign quickly proliferated on Facebook and Twitter after its launch, drawing attention to issues such as the high number of displaced people in the eastern province and the “crippling siege” the city of Deir e-Zor faces from both the regime and ISIS.

Meanwhile, more than 130,000 Syrians in Deir e-Zor province have fled their homes because of the conflict since the end of April, the monitoring group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights announced Tuesday, while 634 have been killed.

However, Khalid Niklawi, a member of the Coalition of Youth for the Revolution in Deir e-Zor, a civil society group, tells Osama Abu Zeid that the motive for the campaign is “politicized.”

“The goal of the campaign is to hand complete responsibility [for the humanitarian situation] to the Assad regime,” Niklawi said.

Q: With regard to the ISIS fighters, what is the latest in the area?

 ISIS controls the west countryside completely.

deirezor_2.jpgA camp for Internally Displaced Syrians in Deir e-Zor. Photo courtesy of Ansaar_Gbhat.

Q:  Are there any battles between ISIS and the regime in Deir e-Zor?

No, never; their fight is against the Free Army and the Shura Mujahidin Council.

Q:  Who launched the campaign “Deir e-Zor Needs Your Help?”

Members of the media who originally belonged to the Shura Mujahadin Council [the Shura Mujahadin Council is closely affiliated with Jabhat a-Nusra-led opposition groups in the province]. The goal is to hand the complete responsibility [of the humanitarian situation] to the Assad regime. I mean, it [the campaign] is politicized.

Q: Has there been any type of mediation between the parties for aid to enter?

There is no type of mediation between the two parties and they refrain from making a truce, but both allow the passage of aid into the city.

The besieged areas of the city are devoid of people because of the bombing and battles.

The warring sides are not preventing people from coming and going from the city, only fighting between the two parties is responsible for that.

Q:  What is the military situation in the province? Are the regime or the rebels advancing?  

The jihadist fighters have not won any advances against the regime, and the Free Army attacked regime sites with homemade bombs.

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