BEIRUT: Fighters loyal to the Syrian government clashed with Kurdish-led forces in a mainly Arab district of eastern Syria, leaving 25 people dead in two days, a war monitor said on Tuesday.
The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), who are backed by Washington, said they had “driven out the regime gunmen who had infiltrated the Dheiban area” of Deir Ezzor province in the gun battles which erupted on Monday.
Earlier this month, the same area saw 10 days of fighting between the SDF and armed Arab tribesmen in which 90 people were killed.
Britain-based monitor the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the latest clashes erupted when pro-government fighters crossed the Euphrates river, which separates pro-government forces in south-western Deir Ezzor from the SDF in the northeast.
It said 21 of the dead were Damascus loyalists and three were SDF fighters. A woman was also killed. The SDF said the loyalist fighters had crossed the Euphrates “under cover of an indiscriminate bombardment” of its positions.
The SDF riposted by bombarding the right bank of the river which is controlled by government troops with support from Iran-backed militias, the Observatory said.
The clashes earlier this month erupted after the SDF’s arrest in late August of a local Arab military commander who had previously been an ally. The SDF said at the time that it had driven out the detained commander’s supporters among the area’s Arab tribes.
Published in Dawn, September 27th, 2023