In recent week, the head of the so-called ISIS Public Relations Office along with other commanders held a meeting with tribal leaders in the villages that lay in the eastern countryside of Deir Ezzor, with the aim of gaining popular support from the tribes, including backing and assisting the group on the frontlines.
The meeting discussed the necessity of finding an efficient and productive tactic to recruit more people from rural Deir Ezzor for ISIS.
ISIS has recently been on the run in eastern Syria, losing Tanf border crossing and Shaddadi, with Assad forces capturing most of Palmyra. A military faction known as ‘’ The Syrian Elite Forces” have also reached the area of Abu Khashab, north Deir Ezzor. All of these defeats have led ISIS to suffer devastating casualties so far.
Several civilians from Deir Ezzor province have indicated that their stance on the situation in Deir Ezzor would differ depending on who is attacking the province. In case the FSA advance to liberate the province, they would provide their support to them, as many Deir Ezzor people had joined the FSA and are still fighting in its ranks. However, if both the Assad-regime along with the Syrian Democratic Forces attempt to advance in Deir Ezzor, the tribes would take a defensive attitude and try to repel their attack.