Syrian government forces and Iranian-backed armed groups have infiltrated conflict zones in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor (Dêrezor), Syria, attempting to incite sectarian strife in Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) held areas in order to fuel clashes, according to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR).
The head of the SDF media centre, Farhad Shami, shared videos purporting to show these armed groups crossing from government-controlled areas into conflict zones.
Shami also said that media outlets close to Turkey were spreading fake news by using old video footage of the clashes in Deir Ezzor.
The conflict ignited earlier this week after the SDF Military Council relieved the commander of the Deir Ezzor Military Council, Ahmed Al-Khubail, known as Abu Khawla, and four others of their duties. The relief was attributed to “their involvement in various crimes and violations”, including drug trafficking and mishandling of security matters.
Meanwhile, the United States Embassy in Syria and Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR), a multinational military formation against the Islamic State (ISIS) have issued statements expressing their support for the SDF and have called for an immediate end to the violence in the region.
“The United States is deeply concerned by the recent violence, including the loss of life, in Deir Ezzor, Syria. We call on all parties to de-escalate and resolve the situation peacefully,” stated the US Embassy in Damascus on Friday. The embassy reaffirmed its commitment to addressing the suffering of the Syrian people and ensuring the lasting defeat of ISIS through its partnership with the SDF.
The CJTF-OIR also issued a statement underscoring its dedication to supporting the SDF in achieving the permanent eradication of ISIS.
“Distractions from this critical work create instability and increase the risk of a Daesh [ISIS] resurgence. The violence in north-eastern Syria must stop, and efforts must return to building peace and stability in north-eastern Syria, free from the threat of Daesh,” stated the CJTF-OIR.
According to the SOHR, the number of people killed since the clashes erupted on 27 August has risen to 45, including five civilians.