Syria: Factional infighting continues in Deir al-Zour

Factional infighting continued on Friday between two U.S.-backed militias in Syria’s eastern province of Deir al-Zour, with the Arab tribes stripping the Kurdish-led militia of several villages, state news agency SANA reported.

According to the report, fierce clashes continued in most areas in the countryside of Deir al-Zour between the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the Deir al-Zour Military Council, an Arab-majority militia that used to operate under the umbrella of the SDF.

Citing local sources, SANA reported the falling of causalities and hostages, but without placing a number.

The council comprising Arab tribes managed to expel the SDF out of several villages on Friday, the report said, adding tribe leaders are calling for general mobilization to continue fighting the SDF and dislodge it out of their areas.

It also reported that the locals in some areas cut off the roads to prevent the SDF from bringing reinforcements from areas under its control in the northwestern province of Raqqa.

The tension between the two sides escalated after the SDF detained Ahmad Abu Khawla, the leader of the military council, in the northeastern province of Hasakah on Sunday over his alleged ties with the Syrian government and Türkiye, a stand against the SDF.

Notably, the SDF has emerged as the main allied militia to the U.S. forces in northeastern Syria, controlling much of Hasakah and parts of Deir al-Zour’s countryside.

Due to its de-facto rule in Hasakah and some other areas in Deir al-Zour and Aleppo, the Syrian government has branded the SDF as a separatist group.

For Türkiye, the SDF is part of the Kurdish People Protection Units, which Ankara designates as a terrorist group due to its ties with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party.

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