In this Sunday, May 10, 2015 photo, Sunni tribal fighters secure central Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province, 115 kilometers (70 miles) west of Baghdad, Iraq.(AP Photo)
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The sheikh from the Iraqi city of Ramadi which fell to ISIS on May 15 was one of several tribal leaders in Syria and Iraq who have pledged their support for the extremist group.ISIS appears to have recognized the importance of Syria and Iraq's Sunni Arab tribes early on as it seized control of large parts of both countries last year.In Syria, the country's approximately 15 Sunni tribes account for some 15 percent of the population.Experts say ISIS has used a carrot-and-stick approach with Sunni Arab tribes in both countries, playing on local grievances but also exploiting fear.In 2014, when the Sheaitat tribe rose up against the group, ISIS slaughtered more than 900 of its members in Deir al-Zor province.As in Syria however, other tribes have resisted ISIS, including the Jughaifa.Saddam Hussein's own tribe is divided between supporters of ISIS and dissidents such as Sheikh Salah Hasan al-Nada, who has been forced to seek refuge in the Kurdish-controlled city of Irbil.
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