Clashes continue between SDF, Arab tribes in Deir az-Zour despite ‘end of operations’

Clashes continue between SDF, Arab tribes in Deir az-Zour despite ‘end of operations’
Arab tribal forces launched a counterattack against the Kurdish-led SDF in the town of Dhiban after the latter said it had “ended operations” there.
2 min read
07 September, 2023
Arab tribal fighters continued operations against the SDF [Getty]

Clashes continued on Thursday between the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and Arab tribal fighters formerly allied with them, despite the SDF saying the previous day that it had ended operations.

The clashes in the eastern Syrian province of Deir az-Zour have been going on since August 27th and were sparked by the SDF detention of the Deir az-Zour military council’s leader Ahmed Khbeil, also known as Abu Khawla.

At least 90 people have been killed. The SDF accused Khbeil of trafficking in drugs and ties to the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

Local media activist Wisam Al-Akidi told The New Arab’s Arabic-language sister site Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that clashes were taking place in the town of Dhiban east of Deir az-Zour as well as in villages to the east and west of Deir al-Zour.

On Wednesday, the SDF said that they had taken Dhiban. "Military operations in Dhiban have ended," SDF spokesman Farhad Shami told AFP.

Live Story

Akidi said that Arab tribal forces still controlled the Al-Latwa area of Dhiban, near the Euphrates River, and had launched a counterattack from there targeting SDF checkpoints in the centre of the town on Wednesday evening.

The media activist added that tribal fighters from the Deir az-Zour Military Council had taken control of an SDF checkpoint as well as parts of the neighbouring town of Tayana.

Also on Thursday, Akram Hussein, a member of the secretariat of Syria’s Kurdish National Council, warned against a general conflict between Arabs and Kurds in Syria, saying that the SDF should “avoid hate speech”.

He told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that the Syrian regime could benefit if the conflict between the SDF and its erstwhile Arab tribal allies continues.

The Syrian regime controls areas of Deir az-Zour province to the west of the Euphrates River, while the SDF controls areas to the east.