The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

Military police of SDF arrest leader of al-Bakkara Youth Gathering Yasser al-Dahla, the defected of Syrian Elite Forces

The tension prevail among the forces of “Jazeera Storm” Operation, which was launched on the 7th of September 2017, in order to control east Euphrates, northwestern countryside of Deir Ezzor from the side of the east of Euphrates River and the southern countryside of Al-Hasakah, where they managed to control large areas in the northern countryside of Deir Ezzor and reached an area close to the banks opposite to Deir Ezzor city, al-Sor town and Koniko gas plant and field which is the largest plant and gas field in Syria, and other areas of the eastern Euphrates, reliable sources informed to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights that the tension came after the arrest of Yasser al-Dahla by the military police of SDF, Yasser al-Dahla is the leader of al-Bakkara Youth Gathering and he previously defected from the Syrian Elite Forces and joined Deir Ezzor Military Council of the Syria Democratic Forces.

Leading sources confirmed to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights that Yasser Al-Dahla remains in detention for the fourth consecutive day, and leadership sources in Deir Ezzor Military Council attributed the reason of arresting Yasser al-Dahla to “military excesses he had related to the lack of effective participation in the ongoing military operations east of Euphrates and the northern countryside of Deir Ezzor, and the lack of military discipline, as well as the lack of participants of the forces of al-Bakkara Youth Gathering in “Jazeera Storm” Operation, in addition to violations related to stealing civilian property from the areas which were controlled by the Gathering, and that the Dahla was arrested with 4 other leaders and members of the Gathering by the military discipline of Deir Ezzor military Council”

These accusations against Yasser al-Dahla were met by denial by those who are close to al-Dahla of al-Bakkara Youth Gathering , where they informed the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights that the arrests were made against the backdrop of “the desire of those defected of “Euphrates Shield” Operation to join al-Bakkara Youth Gathering , in addition to the desire of others to join the ranks of al-Bakkara Youth Gathering , and because Deir Ezzor Military Council did not allow the emerge of a military figure, and that al-Dahla was threatened by halting the military action with him”. People close to the Gathering accused Deir Ezzor Military Council and the Military Police of “fabricating malicious charges against Yasser Al-Dahla and those detained with him”, where they fear “the outbreak of a tribal disorder between Deir Ezzor Military Council and al-Bakkara Youth Gathering”

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights published on the 25th of August 2017 that a  group of the rebel factions, who belong to two Arab tribes, announced that they joined Deir Ezzor Military Council and work under the umbrella of the SDF, after their defection of the Syrian Elite Forces days ago, and the newly group announced that the SDF are their military leadership reference until the end of the presence of ISIS in Deir Ezzor.

This announcement of joining came after 10 days of the report of the SOHR, which published on the 16th of August the full details of defections of groups from the regime forces, where the report of the SOHR cited that The SOHR learned that tens of fighters of a faction operating as part of the Grand Battle of Al-Raqqah defected to another faction operating in the provinces of Deir Ezzor and Al-Raqqah. Specifically, the SOHR learned from several reliable sources that around 300 members and fighters of Al-Bakkara Youth Gathering led by Yasser Al-Dahla, defected from the SEF. This followed an exchange of accusations and disputes between both parties. Sources confirmed that both parties are still exchanging accusations regarding the reasons behind the Group defection from the SEF. Informed sources who are close to Al-Bakkara Youth Gathering, which joined the ranks of the SEF about two months ago, told the SOHR that Yasser Al-Dahla along with 157 of his allied fighters were expelled because of their previous affiliation with Ahrar Al-Sham Islamic Movement and because they held negotiations with the Military Council of Deir Ezzor, which is affiliated with the SDF, to join their ranks. Such negotiations continued until Al-Dahla and his allied fighters left the SEF a week ago.

In the same context, sources close to Al-Bakkara Youth Gathering, which joined the ranks of the SEF two months ago, confirmed to the SOHR that the reason behind the defection of 300 members and fighters led by Yasser Al-Dahla from the SEF – the military wing of Al-Ghad Al-Soury Movement (Syria’s Tomorrow Movement) headed by Ahmad Al-Jarba –  is the “rampant corruption in the ranks of the SEF and the exploitation of fighters to achieve political gains, in addition to the refusal of the Group, led by Al-Dahla, to participate in Al-Raqqah Battle for they give priority to the Liberation of Deir Ezzor to which they belong.”

Reliable sources confirmed to the SOHR that Yasser Al-Dahla arrived with his fighters a week ago to the areas where Deir Ezzor Military Council, which takes part in the Grand Battle of Al-Raqqah, is present. Both parties are working in close coordination to prepare for simultaneous military operations that should be initiated by both parties in the northwestern countryside of Deir Ezzor, the southern countryside of Al-Hasakah, then move towards the north of Deir Ezzor. Sources also confirmed that the division of operations is based on the tribal distribution in the area. Thus, Deir Ezzor Military Council shall start its operation in the areas where its tribe is present and vice versa.

It should be noted that Yasser Al-Dahla comes from Deir Ezzor Province. He used to be one of the commanders of Zei Qar Brigade, which was led by his father. It was through the ambush he set up for ISIS in Al-Dahla area in Deir Ezzor countryside that he became well-known. That ambush targeted Abu Osama Al-Iraqi, one of ISIS commanders, who used to be the Wali of “Al-Baraka (Blessing) State”. The brother of Al-Dahla was killed in that ambush in mid-2014. Al-Dahla then moved along with his allied fighters to Al-Qalamoun in Rif Dimashq and later to Idlib. He also participated in the battles of the northern countryside of Aleppo about one year ago. He then got injured in battles that took place in Ratyan. He finally moved to Jarabulus before joining the ranks of the SEF then Deir Ezzor Military Council.