Syria Democratic Forces release former Daesh members

There is growing tension between villagers and Syrian opposition fighters in territories held by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) following the release of 400 Syrian members of Daesh. Some 120 are said to have re-joined the US-backed SDF.

Villagers in the war torn region are afraid their release will lead to an escalation in fighting between Syrian forces and opposition fighters.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) the members Syrians who came to fight from Deir Ez-Zor and Al-Hasakah and who were initially held for questioning.

The release of these fighters, according to SOHR, has led to new tensions in eastern Syria between locals and former fighters. Villagers were caught in the middle in clashes between Syrian forces and opposition fighters.

Read: Syrian opposition groups work to de-radicalise Daesh fighters

Those released include tens of “important commanders in Deir Ez-Zor countryside, as well as security and military officials, economists and religious men”. Some are reported to be dissidents of regime forces from previous years who joined opposition groups later.

SOHR said that it had monitored fighters joining SDF and concluded that they are people from local clans. Residents fear that fighters have surrender as a tactic to form sleeper cells in the SDF-held areas in order to carry out explosions and assassinations that may lead to the death of villagers.

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