The tribal leader of the Shaitat Bedouin tribe in eastern Syria's Deir Al-Zour region made an emotional appeal on Monday, asking his fellow Bedouin neighbors to join the war against the Islamic State (formerly the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIS).
Sunni Bedouin leaders initially pledged loyalty to the IS, which took large swaths of land in northern and eastern Syria over the past two years and recently conquered much of northern and western Iraq.
However, a conflict between tribes resulted in the arrest of a number of Bedouin, followed by a series of bloody clashes after IS arrested three men.
Bedouin leaders claim that a pact had been made with IS for their safety, and the arrests - made in late July, according to Al-Shorfa news, violated that pact.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reports that during the last two weeks, IS has killed close to 700 members of the Bedouin tribe; most were following a wave of arrests.
Snipers have besieged Shaitat communities, locals say, and the conflict has sparked a major social media campaign to organize a Bedouin uprising against IS throughout the Middle East. In addition, about 800 people are missing from the region, also mostly from Bedouin tribes - adding fuel to the campaign.
Tribal leaders have emphasized the importance of inter-tribal unity over the past several weeks, warning that the elimination of other Bedouin in the Middle East could follow in the event IS continues to succeed in its bloody conquest of the Gulf region.