It is difficult to draw demarcation between the sprawling Bedouin tribal areas of the Upper Mesopotamia, which are at the same time linked to their counterparts outside the borders, in the neighboring Arab countries, to form a geographical and demographic unit, these tribes, coming from the Arabian Peninsula, along with tribes and ethnicities and multiple identities and religions, in a fertile geographical arc east of the Euphrates.
Most of the tribes and clans have largely risen above their tribal and regional differences, forming many identities of local tribal and ethnic affiliations, bringing different communities together in a monolithic social fabric, and coexisting with each other in the form of culturally heterogeneous and linguistically non-convergent human groups. Although they are socially interactive on large geographical areas, combined by the pastoral agricultural lifestyle, but these relations witnessed many shifts to the concerns of the people of the region after the Syrian uprising in 2011.
The changing clan roles
The regime played a prominent role in creating a state of competition and conflict between clans. It has resorted to a double strategy in dealing with the clans. This strategy is based on showing complete rejection of clan as a symbol of reaction and backwardness, and then indirect cooperation with these clans, in order to benefit from them, as a traditional component of the marketing of an undemocratic regime which seeks for any undemocratic legitimacy that can serve it, bridges the enormous lack of rational legitimacy, conceals its legitimacy, and helps it survive as long as possible. 1
Despite the Baath Party national ideological rhetoric, which denounced the sub-community identities, its practice confirms the process of collusion with tribes, especially what relates to the issue of the application of tribal customs, where customary intervention was allowed to resolve inter-clan disputes in Deir ez-Zor, as dictated by the custom, which shows Assad's recognition of the potential power of the Bedouin tribal authority (2), and the fear that the authority of the Bedouin tribes would spin out of control as potential adversaries. The regime has also dealt with sheikhs of lower ranks in the clan hierarchy, especially the tribes of Daraa and Deir ez-Zor, where many of its sons formed a strong pillar of the military and security institutions They have been relied upon at some critical moments to confront the opposed, such as in Sweida with the beginnings of Bashar al-Assad's rule, and against the Kurdish uprising in 2004, and then during the last intifada, by granting them important positions in the institutions state, in addition to increasing their representation in the People's Assembly, which reached 12%, to ensure their loyalty.
Since the beginning of peaceful demonstrations, many questioned have been raised about the position of the Syrian tribes on the revolution, the co-ordinators have called for (clans' Friday) while the regime has called for a conference (the Constituent Assembly of the Syrian Clans and Tribes Conference) to ensure its control over this segment of society and ensure its loyalty to it. Robert Ford, a former US ambassador to Syria, pointed to the need to use Syrian tribes, especially in eastern Euphrates, after the failure of Free Army factions to confront the regime, and the entry of radical Islamic factions as a party to the conflict, despite repeated attempts to drag the Arab tribes to the Syrian war as a unified monolith, however, the one clan has fragmented and its allegiances have been fragmented, yet the quest for tribal cordiality remains part of the strategy of military and political action in eastern Euphrates.