Syrian Kurdish Forces Aiming to Resolve Weeklong Clashes with Militia within the Next 24 Hours


Tuesday, U.S.-backed and Kurdish-led Syrian forces advanced further into the last Arab tribesmen stronghold in eastern Syria. A spokesperson stated that they intended to terminate the days-long clashes in the “next 24 hours.”

Eight days after the outbreak of fighting along the Euphrates River in the oil-rich province of Deir el-Zour, at least 50 persons, including several civilians, have been slain and dozens injured. Since 2015, hundreds of U.S. soldiers have been stationed in eastern Syria to combat the Islamic State group.

Violence has pitted the Syrian Democratic Forces against tribesmen and erstwhile associates of the Deir el-Zour Military Council, an Arab-led militia. It was triggered by the detention of the militia’s leader, Ahmad Khbeil, also known as Abu Khawla, by the SDF last month on charges of “multiple crimes and violations,” including drug trafficking.

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Kurdish-Led Forces Advance in Syrian Province, Aiming to Resolve Tensions in Ziban

Farhad Shami, a spokesman for the Syrian Democratic Forces, told  that the Kurdish-led forces have liberated three previously occupied villages in the province. “What’s left is (the town of) Ziban,” he said. We hope to resolve tensions there within the next twenty-four hours.

Shami estimated that approximately 100 armed individuals and suspected cells of the Islamic State group are present in Ziban. In the conflict against IS, the SDF and the militia were allies, despite being rivals.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition war monitor based in Britain, reported that the chieftain of a pro-Iran Arab tribe fighting against the SDF had urged his tribesmen and others to “liberate Deir el-Zour from the despicable Kurds.”

The Syrian government in Damascus has criticized the Kurdish-led SDF for its close alliance with the United States in the fight against Islamic State militants and for forming an autonomous enclave in eastern Syria, as described by authorities. In the northwest of Syria, Turkey and opposition groups supported by Turkey frequently clash with the SDF.

Ankara asserts that the SDF is allied with Turkey’s banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, which has conducted a tens of thousands-strong insurgency in Turkey since 1984. Ankara has labeled the PKK a terrorist organization.


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Source: Independent

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