Residents of northeastern Syria's Deir el-Zour, have for five days protested against the brutalities and discriminative policies of the U.S.-backed People's Protection Units (YPG), the PKK's Syrian affiliate. According to media reports, local people from the oil-rich city took to the streets in eastern and northern districts from Busayrah to Shuhail. Headquarters and checkpoints of the terrorist organization were set on fire. The protesters burned tires on the main highway to al-Hasakah, which was mainly used by YPG oil tankers. Local people shouted slogans like, "YPG sends children to die," "they humiliate Arabs," "YPG violates rights," and "there is no peace with the YPG." In the face of the demonstrations, supported by the region's most prominent tribes, the terrorist organization reportedly tried to flee the city in armored vehicles.
People in the city protested among other issues, the unabated increase in tribute gathered by the YPG forces in the areas under its control, the kidnapping of children, confiscating properties and humanitarian help sent to the region, imposing Kurdish as the teaching language, the compulsory conscription of young men, and the poor living conditions in many towns without electricity.
Astronomical oil prices and smuggling of oil by the YPG were the other issues that triggered the protesters. "Where is our oil? We won't accept after today to transport our wealth outside our areas," read a banner held by protesters in the village of al-Shanan, published on Reuters' social media account.
Residents told Reuters that convoys of tankers from the nearby oil field of al Omar, the largest under YPG control in Syria, had been turned back by local mobs angered by what they see as theft of oil from their region.
Local people living in areas held by the group have long been suffering from YPG atrocities since the terrorist organization has a notorious record of human rights abuses, ranging from kidnappings of suspected persons, recruiting child soldiers, torture, ethnic cleansing and forced displacement in Syria.
The YPG has forced young people from areas under its control to join their forces within the so-called "compulsory conscription in the duty of a self-defense law" since 2017. According to this practice, young people between the ages of 18 to 30 are forcefully recruited for nine months, with the possibility of extension, if necessary. Those who refuse to join the YPG "face serious repercussions" including imprisonment.
The terrorist organization also kidnaps children to use them as soldiers in frontlines. In 2018, a U.N. report on children in armed conflict found 224 cases of child recruitment by the YPG between January and December in 2017. The U.S. State Department reported in 2017 that the terrorist organization recruited and trained children as young as 12 despite having signed a pledge of commitment with an international organization in June 2014 to demobilize all fighters younger than 18.
Various human rights organizations documented cases of forced displacement, demolition of homes and the seizure and destruction of property under the pretext of fighting Daesh. The terrorist organization even targeted some villages with the accusation of "supporting Daesh." The village of Husseiniya, for example, was completely razed to the ground in 2015, leaving just 14 of 225 houses standing.
The group also committed atrocities including severely punishing local people protesting the organization and enforcing an ideological school curriculum under its de facto administration in northern Syria. The October report by the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHO) reported an increase in deliberate disruptions of education and health services in northern Syria's Raqqa and al-Hasakah provinces.
The YPG killed hundreds of political dissidents and its own members whom they suspected had lost their faith in the organization. The YPG murdered at least 40 Kurdish politicians, activists, and journalists who opposed the terrorist organization, between 2012 and 2014, but these numbers decreased after Western backing for the group expanded.
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