Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces Expel Pro-Regime Groups from Deir ez-Zor
The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have successfully expelled armed groups affiliated with the Syrian regime from the Deir ez-Zor region. This development follows an incursion by pro-regime forces into SDF-held territory on the west bank of the Euphrates River.
In a statement released on Monday, the SDF reported that two pro-Damascus groups infiltrated the town of Dhiban in Deir ez-Zor from regime-held areas on the west bank of the Euphrates River. This infiltration came after what the SDF described as "indiscriminate artillery shelling" against their positions.
"Regime militants were expelled from the town of al-Dhiban hours after they infiltrated from the city of al-Mayadeen on the west bank of the Euphrates River," stated Farhad Shami, head of the SDF media center, via X, formerly known as Twitter.
This incursion into Deir ez-Zor occurred less than a month after clashes erupted between local tribes and Kurdish-led forces. The tensions stemmed from the arrest of a prominent tribal member who was also a commander within the SDF, facing charges including drug trafficking and alleged coordination with external entities. The SDF managed to regain control of the areas it temporarily lost during these clashes.
In response to the incursion, the SDF announced that they had implemented "immediate security measures" aimed at restoring stability and security to the region.
While the SDF did not report any casualties resulting from the Monday clashes, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) confirmed casualties, reporting that three SDF fighters, 18 local forces, and a civilian woman lost their lives, with 42 individuals injured, including four civilians.
Deir ez-Zor, an Arab-majority province, holds historical significance as it was the last stronghold of ISIS militants before their territorial defeat. Currently, control of the province is divided between the SDF and the Syrian regime, with support from Iran. Additionally, the region is home to critical oilfields, including Omar and Conoco, which are protected by the US-led global coalition against ISIS in partnership with the SDF.
It is worth noting that tensions have persisted between the Kurdish-led SDF and some Arab tribes in Deir ez-Zor. While certain anti-SDF groups have alleged that the Kurdish-led force targets Arabs, the SDF has consistently denied these accusations.