The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have deployed additional forces led by Kurdish militants to the eastern Deir Ezzor (Dêrezor) province of Syria in response to unrest caused by rebellious Arab tribal clans.
The conflict began on Monday after the SDF Military Council dismissed the commander of the Deir Ezzor Military Council, Ahmed Al-Khubail, known as Abu Khawla, and four other individuals from their duties citing “their involvement in various crimes and violations”, including drug trafficking and mishandling of security matters. The SDF also accused Abu Khawla of being in communication and coordinating with external entities opposed to the revolution.
The arrest of Abu Khawla came during the SDF’s Operation Security Reinforcement in the Deir Ezzor countryside against the Islamic State (ISIS) members and drug traffickers.
On Wednesday, the SDF declared in a statement that it had removed Abu Khawla from his position as commander of the Deir Ezzor Military Council.
Following the dismissal, Abu Hewla’s supporters within the Deir Ezzor Military Council started mobilising to attack the SDF forces in the region, according to a statement by the SDF press centre.
The clashes have spread to several towns and villages in the province.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), which is based in the United Kingdom and has researchers on the ground, reports that the fighting in Deir Ezzor has resulted in 34 deaths and numerous injuries.
SOHR reported that 11 SDF members, 20 armed tribesmen from the Deir Ezzor Military Council and three civilians were killed on the fifth day of the clashes. However, SDF military sources did not confirm the figures.
Meanwhile, journalist Yavuz Özcan reported on social media that Abu Khawla’s brother posted a video message in which he openly said that he would execute the Kurdish prisoners in their hands.