[The following report was published by the Middle East Security Program in the Center for a New American Security and People Demand Change Inc. in September 2017. The report was written by Nicholas Heras, Bassam Barabandi, and Nidal Bectare. Below is the description of the project from the report. Click here to read the full report.]


“The objective of this project is to provide the most comprehensive, publicly available tribal mapping of Deir Azzour governorate, which is a governorate in eastern Syria that border Iraq, where Arab tribes make up the clear majority of the local population. Deir Azzour is the new administrative center for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) since the Salafi-jihadi organization lost control over its capital in Iraq, Mosul, and it began losing its hold over its Syrian capital of Raqqa.

This project was conducted by the Middle East Security Program in the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), under the direction of Nicholas A. Heras; and People Demand Change Inc. (PDC), under the direction of Bassam Barabandi and Nidal Betare.

From November 2016 to September 2017, the project implementers leveraged a network of Syrians from Deir Azzour, both those currently residing in the governorate in areas under ISIS’ control and those displaced to other areas of Syria, to collect the data for the mapping.

This project has two parts: (1) a series of maps depicting the major tribal groups in Deir Azzour and (2) a report based on the implementers’ interviews with their network in Deir Azzour that assesses the current state of play in ISIS-controlled areas. The project provides policymakers, international organizations, and the interested public with a reference point for the socio-political terrain in Deir Azzour that will be encountered by any force that seeks to defeat and displace ISIS.

Sasha Ghosh-Siminoff, Executive Director of PDC, and Melody Cook, Creative Director of CNAS, drew the tribal maps. The project implementers would like to thank Hassan Hassan, Senior Fellow at the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy and a native of the Albu Kamal area in Deir Azzour, for his review of the draft assessment report and the Deir Azzour tribal maps. The project implementers would also like to thank the network of researchers from Deir Azzour who collected the data that was used for the creation of the maps and helped inform the analysis of this report.”