Civilian Fatally Shot in Clashes Between Local Gunmen and SDF in Deir ez-Zor
In a tragic incident, a civilian lost their life on Wednesday as armed clashes erupted between local gunmen and members of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Abu Hamam Town, located in the eastern Deir ez-Zor countryside. The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that the civilian fell victim to a stray bullet during the exchange of fire.
Yesterday evening, SOHR disclosed that the local gunmen unleashed a barrage of machinegun fire and RPG shells targeting a school and a nearby SDF position in Abu Hamam Town. Fortunately, no casualties were reported from this specific attack.
Tensions have been escalating in the Deir ez-Zor region since August 27, following the apprehension and subsequent dismissal of Abu Khawla, the head of the Deir ez-Zor Military Council by the SDF. This action led to intense clashes between the SDF and rival Arab militants, primarily comprised of local gunmen from the Deir ez-Zor countryside.
According to SOHR, the previous rounds of violent clashes in August and September resulted in a tragic toll, with at least 118 individuals losing their lives, including ten civilians, as a consequence of the hostilities.
Despite these conflicts, insurgent attacks by gunmen, supported by tribal leader Ibrahim Ibrahim al-Hifl, continue to pose a threat to SDF forces in the region. SOHR has also recently highlighted the efforts of Iranian-backed armed groups to sow chaos and confusion in SDF-held areas. These groups are allegedly training local residents to carry out attacks on the SDF in Deir ez-Zor.
In a separate incident, the Syrian Network for Human Rights reported the tragic killing of Ayman al-Dayyaf, the head of the Relief Aid office at the Local Council in Abu Hamam, E. Deir Ez-Zour, on October 15. The assailants responsible for this act remain unidentified.
These developments occur against the backdrop of ongoing unrest in the Middle East, further exacerbated by the situation in Gaza, as well as the persistent threat of attacks by ISIS militants. The situation in Deir ez-Zor remains highly volatile, with local residents and SDF forces caught in the crossfire of the escalating tensions.