Tensions Escalate Near Iraq Border: US Military Calls for Ceasefire

The Deir Ezzor Military Council (DEMC) and the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), two militias supported by the US, have remained at odds and engaged in violent clashes. The US military has called for an end to the tensions, which have killed at least 40 people and persisted for four days.

Conflicts between the SDF and its erstwhile ally, the Arab-led DEMC, as well as some local Arab tribesmen who have sided with them, have been going on since early last week.

After the SDF detained Abu Khawla, the leader of the DEMC and a senior SDF commander, hostilities broke out. Khawla and the other four military leaders were charged with “multiple crimes and violations,” including trafficking in illegal substances. Khawla and his fellow prisoners were later released.

As a result of his “coordination with external entities hostile to the revolution,” which is a reference to his suspected contacts with the Damascus regime, the SDF and the council decided on Wednesday that Khawla will no longer be in charge of the DEMC.

As resentment over Khawla’s imprisonment grew, the SDF sent troops into the province of Deir Ezzor. Armed Arab tribal militants attacked SDF patrols, took control of many checkpoints, burned tires, ambushed cars, and blasted SDF positions in towns around the province, according to Middle East Eye.

By Thursday, it was reported that both sides had sent in reinforcements as fighting broke out close to their shared border with Iraq. According to the local news source DeirEzzor24, helicopters from the US-led Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve were spotted flying over the areas where combat had taken place the day before.

About 900 personnel from Washington and an unspecified number of contractors are stationed with the SDF. The majority of Syria’s oil and wheat resources are controlled by the US, which also unlawfully occupies  third of the country’s land.

The CIA attempted to overthrow the government by supplying and financing rebel groups, including al Qaeda members; however, the effort failed, and huge portions of eastern Syria and western Iraq were taken over by the terrorist organization. Despite killing tens of thousands of people, the proxy war’s attempt to topple the Syrian government was unsuccessful.

With the help of its friends in Iran and Russia, Damascus has nearly completely defeated IS. Instead, the US occupation aims to deny Syria essential resources in the midst of Washington’s economic conflict.

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