The village of al-Sukariyah lies in the Albukamal area in eastern Deir az-Zor province near the borders with Iraq. The village came to some media prominence in 2008 when U.S. forces in Iraq conducted a cross-border raid into eastern Syria in an attempt to target networks responsible for the movement of foreign fighters into Iraq from Syria.
During the Syrian civil war, al-Sukariyah fell under the control of the Islamic State as the group took over most of Deir az-Zor province by summer 2014. It is presently under the control of the Syrian government.
To learn more about the current situation in al-Sukariyah, I conducted an interview with 'Diwaniya al-Sukariyah' on 4 September 2019. It is slightly edited and condensed for clarity. Any parenthetical insertions in square brackets are my own.
Q: What is the humanitarian and services situation in al-Sukariyah?
A: Dear brother, I am not present in al-Sukariyah. Regarding the situation in al-Sukariyah, the situation is acceptable to a good degree: there is distribution of aid every month, there are health clinics and the municipal office for cleaning is operational and the purified drinking water is operational. But electricity is of private generators because they are still working on the national grid electricity as the tension line that supplies Albukamal is damaged.
Q: So currently there is no national grid electricity.
A: No, there is no national grid electricity.
Q: The water comes from the Euphrates River?
A: The water comes from water purifiers on the Euphrates River.
Q: So the water reaches the homes all the time?
A: One day the water works, one day it doesn't, because it depends on big generators whose cost is very high.
Q: Do you know the number of inhabitants in al-Sukariyah currently? And what was the number before the crisis?
A: No by God, but 85% have returned to their homes and the majority of the remainder work in al-Sham [Damascus]. By God the number I do not know.
Q: From which tribes are most of the inhabitants?
A: All of them are from the al-Mashahada tribe.
Q: The security situation in the village is very good?
A: Yes the security situation is very good and stable.
Q: What are the biggest challenges from the realm of the humanitarian and services situation?
A: The situation has minor problems because the biggest hospitals are damaged. Despite that, [the situation] is acceptable.