The underground wealth with which Deir Ezzor province is endowed, has not been able to ensure its people a life free from poverty and destitution, as the practices of the SDF resembled those of the Assad regime, as both of them deprived people of Deir Ezzor from the oil and natural gas of their land.
Since its control over nearly half of Deir Ezzor province, the SDF have followed in the Assad regime footsteps in confiscating the province’s wealth and depriving its people from the large endowments of their land, as the largest oil and gas fields in Syria are located in their land, adding to that dozens of oil wells in this province of the Euphrates.
The SDF took over the oil fields, oil wells and the gas fields located in the areas of Deir Ezzor they control, and the most important of which are Al-Omar field, the largest oilfield in Syria, and the Koniko gas field, also the largest one in the country, and took strict measures that would prevent civilians from approaching or working in oil products produced in these fields, So they formed a special force called the “Wells Protection Committee” to protect the wells and prevent civilians from approaching them.
This Committee was characterized by a lack of integrity, where a number of its leaders, including ( Dumhat, a leader in the Self-Defense force, the leader Abu Layla, and Mohammed Salah) were stealing the oil, smuggling it and then selling it to merchants who transfer it to the areas controlled by the Assad regime, and all that was happening through coordination between the leaders of the Wells Committee and “Khairat Al-Urwah” the official representative of Katerji company, which is one of the Assad regime’s companies, by coordinators of the SDF like (Firass Al-Lyas, Abu Lotfi Al-Homsi, Ahmed Al-Rajwan and Bassam Al-Muazzi).
The daily oil production of the fields and oil wells located in the areas of Deir Ezzor under the control of the SDF is estimated at about 50,000 barrels per day, and the SDF control this quantity by exporting it to the areas controlled by the Assad regime and to Iraqi Kurdistan through their representatives.
This has created a state of tension and discontent among civilians as they were denied the right to work in the oil of their land, in time of poverty, lack of resources, and almost a complete stop of work in the areas under the control of the SDF, which generated public protests in several villages and towns in Deir Ezzor countryside as a result of the the deteriorating economic conditions in the region, while the SDF were controlling the oil, exporting it to outside the province and denying its people right to work in the sector, some of those protests turned to a popular movement against the SDF’s actions and their targeting of civilians near the oil wells as what happened in Al-Sijr, Tayb Al-Fal, and Abu Naytal villages in the northern Deir Ezzor countryside.
Demonstrations were also staged and recurrent in several areas, starting first in Suweidan Jazeerah town, and the villages of Tayana, Abu Hamam, and Granij, demanding jobs opportunities for civilians, and to grant them their right to oil resources, and because of the exclusion of the villagers, protests were expanded to include Al-Azbah and Maazaliyah villages which contains more than 10,000 displaced persons, most of them from Khasham town, where civilians took control of Al-Azbah Wells and Al-Jafra field after clashes with the SDF.
In those clashes, elements from the SDF-linked military council participated on people side, having decided to stand by the civilians.
Despite the tension among the people of Deir Ezzor and the expanded protests claiming the right of Deir Ezzor’s people to work in the oil sector, the SDF have not changed their policy in exporting Deir Ezzor’s oil to Iraqi Kurdistan and the areas controlled by the Assad regime, ignoring the anger of Deir Ezzor’s people who suffer from poverty in the context of lack of work opportunities in their areas.