On February 9, the governorates of Deir Ezzor and al-Raqqa witnessed a new wave of protests against the U.S. and French occupation of northeastern Syria.
The Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) said that the protests were organized by Arab tribes’ leaders, who are fed up with the practices of the US-led coalition and its proxy, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
The protesters denounced the coalition airstrikes on the civilian areas in the middle Euphrates Valley and the SDF’s decision to close a vital crossing with the government-held areas preventing the delivery of humanitarian aid. The protesters also rejected any Turkish intervention in their areas.
In a video released by the SANA, some of the protesters can be seen burning the improvised flags of the U.S. and France. A day earlier, several activists in Raqqa did the same thing to protest the military presence of the US-led coalition.
Facing this public pressure, the Kurdish-dominated SDF began what appears to be a crackdown on anyone who opposes its authority. More than 60 civilians were arrested during a recent “security operation” inside the city of Raqqa. The SDF accused the detainees of being “terrorists.”
Local observers believe that the protests may escalate in the upcoming few weeks, especially if the U.S. attempts to delay the withdrawal of its forces.