Executive Summary

Non-state armed actors who play a key role in changing the course of the conflict in the Syrian civil war have caught the attention of researchers, politicians, and military personnel. These entities have been largely successful in reaching their religious, ethnic or political objectives through military tactics, threatening the sovereignty of the mother State and exerting political, economic and military monopolies, as in the case of the study at hand. The literature on the Autonomous Administration and its main political component called the Democratic Union Party (PYD) is varied. It ranges from discussing its relationship with the PKK and the West to the study and analysis of its critical discourse.

This paper aims to answer a question that has troubled many a researcher: what are the reasons behind the survival of the Syrian Democratic Forces? It also examines the organization’s local expansion, administration, organizational structure, and its complex relations with other countries. The study describes the role of the SDF in the countryside of Deir ez-Zor focusing on its power structure. As it evaluates the quality of SDF’s rule objectively, the study adopts a concept different from the concept of the conventional tribal bonds of kinship. What type of a relationship does SDF have with the tribal society, and what is its impact on them? There are several questions that extend from this main question:

  • How does the SDF deal with the tribe and its sheikhs?
  • How does it manage some of the vital sectors?
  • What type of services does it provide?
  • How does the SDF deal with women and what are the repercussions of this on the family?
  • How does it deal with oil supplies?
  • How do narcotics spread in the region? How does the SDF deal with this phenomenon?
  • What are the manifestations of the security chaos caused by these phenomena? How can they be explained?
  • What is the relationship between the SDF and the NGOs that operate in the area under study?

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