The ability of the mostly foreign ISIS fighters to maintain its control over broad swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria has rested on their ability to make a deal with tribal factions giving them considerable autonomy.
Tempers are flaring in the eastern Deir Ezzor Province of Syria, however, where several villages along the highway near the Iraqi border are in open revolt, with days of fighting and ISIS sending reinforcements to try to retake the villages.
Reports suggest the trouble started when ISIS violated their agreement with tribal leaders and captured members of one of the local tribes. The villagers from three villages marched on nearby al-Ashara and burned the ISIS headquarters there to the ground.
The three villages in revolt are Kishkiyeh, Abu Hamam, and Granij, three villages not far from al-Bukamal, the ISIS-held city bordering Iraq’s Anbar Province, which is likewise under ISIS control.
In the heartland of the new ISIS country, there is no serious chance three villages will be able to withstand an ISIS assault, but the anger there reflects the difficulty this faction is going to have in retaining its caliphate without the support of locals.
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