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JUNE 2020

Battle For Deir Ezzor And Race For Oil In Eastern Syria – Analysis


Battle For Deir Ezzor And Race For Oil In Eastern Syria - Analysis

Click to see the full-size map

The military situation is developing rapidly in the province of Deir Ezzor as the ISIS-held area is shrinking under the pressure of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA), backed up by the Russian Aerospace Forces, and the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), supported by the US-led coalition.

On September 13, the SAA, the Syrian Republican Guard (SRG), Hezbollah and other pro-government factions continued operations against ISIS in the Deir Ezzor area and advanced on ISIS positions at Jafrah, al-Mariiyah and ar-Rouad.

Tactical goals of the SAA and its allies in eastern Syria are:

  • to secure the northwestern flank of the government-held city, liberating ar-Rouad and the army storage base. If the ISIS defense collapses in the area, the SAA and its allies may push towards al-Baghiliyah. However, this is not a top priority right now because the Syrian-Iranian-Russian alliance has much more important task on the ground;
  • to secure the entire area of Jafra and to fully encircle ISIS units operating inside the northern part of Deir Ezzor city. The liberation of Jafra wil lset a foothold for the government advance on Saqr Island and al-Mariiyah. Al-Mariiyah has to be liberated if the Syrian military seeks to establish at least partly secure perimeter on the eastern flank of Deir Ezzor Airport.
  • to establish a foothold for a operation to cross the Euphrates River in the area near Deir Ezzor city. Government forces need to secure few areas on the western bank of Euphrates if they want to cross the area safely despite a high presence of ISIS members on the eastern bank of the river. The Syrian military with the Russian support may also conduct an airborne operation in order to create a foothold on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River. However, this is a risky move. It may be implemented if the SAA has no other options to win the race for eastern Syria.

Mid term goals of the Syrian-Iranian-Russian alliance in eastern Syria:

  • to liberate and to secure the entire area of Deir Ezzor city and Deir Ezzor Airport and to turn Deir Ezzor Airport into a foothold for further operations against ISIS in eastern Syria;
  • to liberate the towns of al-Mayadin, Abu Hamam and al-Bukamal from ISIS and to take control over the Syrian part of the Damascus-Baghdad highway;
  • to expand its influence on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River and to prevent patrition of Syria via a “deconfliction line” along the Euphrates River;
  • to establish control over the all vital oil fields in Deir Ezzor countryside.

The success of this strategy will depend on many factors and the SAA will likely face problems with overstretched supply lines and a lack of manpower to storm successfully ISIS strongholds located in the Euphrates Valley. Many will also depend on the ability of the US-backed forces to progress rapidly against ISIS in the area of Al Suwar and further south towards the oil fields on the eastern bank of Euphrates.

Battle For Deir Ezzor And Race For Oil In Eastern Syria - Analysis

Click to see the full-size map

Recently, the SDF has seized a large area north of Deir Ezzor city and entered the ISIS-held village of al-Husayniyah located in about 3km from Deir Ezzor city.

The SDF started its operation against ISIS in Deir Ezzor province earlier in September when the SAA and its allies overrun the ISIS defense in the area of Deir Ezzor city and broke the 3-years-long ISIS siege on the city and the nearby airport. The US-backed force seized the fact that ISIS was deeply involved in the battle against government forces in order to make own gains.

Meanwhile, the SDF still faces some problems with capturing the city of Raqqah from ISIS. Thus, the group could put itself in trobule opening the second front against ISIS. However, the SDF faced a little resistance during its advance on the eastern bank of Euphrates.

The main ISIS defense positions are located at Al Suwar, al-Mayadin, Abu Hamam and al-Bukamal as well as at the major oil fields in on the eastern bank of the river.

Tactical goals of the SDF in eastern Syria are:

  • to seize the entire northern Deir Ezzor countryside, including the bridge areas on the eastern bank of Euphrates in northern Deir Ezzor;
  • to secure the recent gains and to reach the Omar oil fields east of Deir Ezzor city as well as to seize them if no singificant resistance will be faced from ISIS;
  • to tighten pressure on ISIS in Al Suwar and to secure the northern flank of the SDF grouping that would push towards oil fields on the eastern bank of Euphrates;

Mid term goals of the US-led coalition in eastern Syria:

  • to seize Al Suwar and to develop a large operation aimed at capturing the entire oil fields area on the eastern bank of Euphrates;
  • to reach the Damascus-Baghdad highway in some point between Deir Ezzor and al-Bukamal before the SAA and to take control over it. This could be used to prevent further avdances of government forces or event to block this vital supply line that could be used by Iran and Iraq to support the Syrian government;
  • to divide Syria via a “deconfliction line” along the Euphrates River and, in the best case, to seize some areas on the western bank of Euphrates under a pre-text of combating ISIS;
  • To increase its influence in eastern Syria as much as possible in order to use it as a bargaining chip further negotiations on the fate of the post-ISIS Syria OR to include the area into a puppet semi-independent state that could be created (in some cases) in the SDF-held area.



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  • Nigel Maund

    Full scale war between the SDF and their US Allies and the SAA, Hezbollah and Russia is now an absolute certainty. The US Deep State is pushing this action knowing Syria and Russia cannot now back down and they also know the US financial system is about to totally implode with huge social and economic consequences. Hence, the need to urgently start a war to divert public opinion and blame the war for the imminent economic collapse. The US is just plain damned evil and run by extremely evil people.

    • John Brown

      The SDF and Israel have already lost, Turkey is going to attack the kurds and Americans in Syria and Iraq with all its might.

      • Nigel Maund

        Fascinating commentary John! I take it you have some solid facts to support this comment? If so, could you please share a link? Thanks!

        • Jorj_Mckie

          Simple logic. It’s obvious.

          • dutchnational

            Strange that there are always more than one simple logics available.

            We will see what happens during this week and then matters should be clear for all to see.

          • Nigel Maund

            Logic may be an argument for explaining what you feel should happen, given the facts as you see them. However, so may factors are involved that the reality does not prove so simplistic as history has shown in so many instances. Hence, my request for facts to support the contention. Fair enough?

          • Deo Cass

            Facts are the officially declared priority of the SDF Chief of Staff that the priority of the SDF Kurdish forces has changed from defeating ISIS to stopping the Syrian government forces and their Iranian and Hezbollah allies from crossing to the Eastern banks of the Euphrates river and taking control of the Deir Ezzur – Iraq border, in the same way they prevented the SAA from taking control of the Al-Tanf crossing.

          • Graeme Rymill

            Please supply a link for this fact…

          • Henk Poell

            Logic… and… Erdogan…
            But sure, Turkey is not on Assad’s side at the moment but may join him in an endgame fight against the Kurds… So the Kurds better keep Russia allied apart from their alliance with the USA.

      • FlorianGeyer

        I never thought I would wish for that, but I do now. Two NATO countries killing each other would be a real show :)

        • Brother Ma

          Already happened 1974 greece and turkey.

          • FlorianGeyer

            Yes, I forgot that. Thank you.

      • Deo Cass

        Don’t bet on Turkey. I have reliable information that Turkey made a pact with the US and Germany to take on the Syrian Arab native populations of Raqqa and Deir Ezzur governorates and transfe them to the EU as refugees, and in return relocate or force the Turkish Kurds to settle and occupy the US/Zionist Kurdish invaded and occupied Syrian Arab cities of Raqqa and Deir Ezzur themselves. This mass ethnic cleansing of the native Syrian Arab population and population swap with Turkish and other US servile foreign Kurdish invaders and settlers and their families has already been carried out in US/Zionist Kurdish invaded Northern Syria and is now being executed as we speak in Raqqa and Deir Ezzur in grand scale. Actually here we have a repeat of the Palestinian Nakba, with the same militarily enforced change of the demographic situation of the areas to suit US/Zionist colonial interests at the exoense of the native Syrian Arab population who is being massacred, terrorized, forcefully thrown out of their homes and deported to Turkey, with the EU unde Germany’s Angela Merkel, imposing on the EU countries to take on the forcefully displaced Syrians as refugees. That’s how evil and monstrous this US Zio/Nazi tyranny and its servile NATO and EU members are!

        • Ronald

          Your account of the Kurdish situation , while very uncomfortable , might just be because it strikes too close to the truth . I do hope not .

        • Brother Ma

          You forgot to mention massacre and deportation of christians from turkey in early last century and now from syria and iraq!

        • Langaniso Mhlobo

          Secret leaks also says that.USA will soon scrap all deals with Russia and force Israel to attack Damascus.All the Russian services and software’s will also be stop world wide by USA.

          • Graeme Rymill

            Secret leaks also show that the zombie apocalypse will happen soon…

          • dutchnational

            Leaks as in netflix?

          • John Brown

            Are they your alternative IDs? They sound just like you.

          • John Brown

            Where is the mother ship that is going to take you away ?

          • Langaniso Mhlobo

            My boy us Africans will climb on trees and hide in caves.Arabs will hide in their tunnels.British will fly with father brutish airways and crush.We don’t fly we ride cattle and any animal that can serve that way.

        • John Brown

          Where is the proof??? You sound in like a Mossad disnfo agent. There are lots of them on this board.
          Like I heard, I have reliable information that the USA has an alien space ship and is going to transport everyone to another planet next week!! Unless you give all your money to save the whales!!! It will happen yeah!!!! Surely you can tell better lies that at least have the possibility of being true.

    • G Jetson

      Turkey won’t let the YPG get those oil fields – it will give the YPG tremendous leverage to become an independent state.

      Turkey will not let its own country break up.

      They will go to war before they let that happen

      • Mountains


        • Bobby

          What’s a lool?

      • Brother Ma

        Why does turkey care? It is happy with barzani kurds in iraq having oil! They will reach agreement once turkey knows for sure kurda in syria are usa pets.otherwise all turkey soldiers will get sack on head like MIT in iraq some years ago by usa marine general now boss of cia .i think pompeo?

    • Floyd Hazzard

      I think a deal has already been made where the Kurds will occupy all of the eastern bank of the Euphrates. No forward thinking general would tell me they couldn’t have foreseen the advance of the Kurds on the oilfields. Infact that’s what the Americans at Al Tanf border base was blocking the SAA to protect in the first place. The SAA is really trying but at times they are left to the mercy of others and to fend for themselves. It’s all about making the Kurdish Canton economically viable. The pontoon bridges are just for show imho.

      • Bru

        So you supporting this illegal invasion and theft? Isreali or Kurd?

      • FlorianGeyer

        Time will tell.

      • jhon malakiat

        if there was a deal between usa/sdf and russia about eastern euphates then why usa/sdf involved in race to DZ?

        better usa/sdf secure raqqa first and then afterward they move forwad to eastern bank side euphrates.

        the fact is opposites.
        i believe, usa and russia has deal that they will grab whatever land if they reach the land first. this why both russia and usa race to DZ and try to grab land as much as possible.

        the question is what they both in full scale war once isis gone?

        • Graeme Rymill

          DZ is the name of both the city and the governorate. The race is for the governorate. SDF has no interest in the city except for the industrial areas on the left (northern) bank of the river.

      • Graeme Rymill

        Al Tanf protecting the oilfields in the Euphrates River valley? Please look at a map of Syria. Note the road network from Al Tanf and also the distance between Al Tanf and these oilfields.

    • Manuel Flores Escobar

      USA are ready to a war vs SAA when ISIS will be wipe out of Syria…before that US air force and navy did not want risk for US pilots that could be shot down and capture by ISIS….

      • FlorianGeyer

        mmmm, the USAF’s many bombing ‘mistakes’ have actually helped IS and why would the US rescue high ranking IS from Mosul,the Raqqa countryside ?

        It would in fact be an embarrassment for the US if a pilot WAS to fall into ISIS hands by accident. Would he be beheaded or set free ?

        If he was beheaded the moral and anger of the US military with knowledge of the US collusion with iSIS would be palpable.

        If he was set free it would be more proof of US collusion with ISIS.

    • Charlie rad

      Good Post. Except it’s not just US DEEPSTATE. They are THE GLOBALISTS. Most of the planet is under their greedy EVIL control. DEEPSTATE are just their USA affiliates.

  • MD Ranix

    God bless syria and her true allies …. victory will always be yours

    • Nigel Maund

      One hopes and prays!

  • Stephen Lambert

    What the Kurds should ask themselves is why is the US suddenly supporting them when for decades the US and Britain funded and supplied chemical weapons to Saddan Hussein to kill them to defeat their fight for independence?

    Every nationality is entitled to thier independance ther is no doubt about that but you should choose your “friends” carefully. The US, I am sure, has done a cost benefit analysis on their limited support for you and I’ll guarantee you it is a very short term analysis……….. I hope you have done the same with them but I doubt it…….. Their bases are always a long term strategy with a short term analysis…….

    • Nigel Maund

      Excellent commentary – Thanks!

    • Brad Isherwood

      All the High priced Prostitute drive Mercedes and Porsche. ..
      Others are not intelligent to understand the value of what they sell.

      Kurds ,Arabs….Baathist traitors from Iraq,
      Iraq,Syria is a crime spree since Bill Clinton and Madeline Albright murder everyone for money while UN gets a piece of the action.

      Can’t even respect Putin/Russia who hook up with Erdogan …The Miserable House of Saud,
      And let Uncle Shlomo run around, murder and build bases.,…
      While Israhell dictates the region future.

      Rothschild who pulled a con on England’s stock exchange before actual outcome of Battle
      Of Waterloo reached the Isle.

      Crime Planet……3rd from the Sun

    • jhon malakiat

      good question. is because when you desperate to grab power and money, you will be stupid and damn moron idiot. kurd is like this.

  • LynFSN

    Let´s built a ponton bridge quickly and cross the damn river soon….there is still a small chance to secure the city and the oil fields before the Americans and their puppets steal it all. A few days US helicopters openly evacuated a bunch of IS field commanders (mostly citizens of Western countries) with helicopters from the Madan area. I think that tells all.

    • Andrew Pate

      I think the Russians are doing that as we speak or getting it ready.

      • You can call me Al

        I think we are past that day; they have crossed the river and the next 7 days we’ll know the facts.

  • Rob

    Trump regime have crushed thousands of innocent Syrian civilians in Raqqa and in Deir Ezzor to steal oil and gas rich land from Syria.

    • Richard Noel Hedditch

      Your analysis is correct.

    • Moussa Saab

      Trump does not even know what is going on! This is all the deep state’s ideas. If any ‘president’ caused IS to begin with it is Obama. Trump is just sitting around watching the show, and people tell him what to do and say. Just like president Bush.

  • Serious

    is is true that US paratroops landed in Muhassah (south of DZ), in middle of ISIS and cut the road to Al Bukamal.

    • Graeme Rymill


  • SnowCatzor

    It’s annoying that the Kurds have suddenly decided compete for the DZ area, although I doubt they will fight the SAA despite some of the more black-pilled commenters here calling it a ‘certainty’. However the SAA will likely need to do another air raid, followed up by a quick river crossing if they’re to seize back the oil fields before they become part of the new Kurdistan.

    Realistically though, the river is likely to become the new border either way. Maybe Syria will keep these oil fields, but in exchange they would probably have to give up rights to the Tabqa area south of Raqqa.

    • Serious

      SDF is not kurdistan. It’s a brand created by USA to steal ressources of Syria.

      • SnowCatzor

        I know that, that’s why I didn’t use the term “SDF”. Because SDF is basically just the Kurdish forces.

    • dutchnational

      I agree that the river will be likely more or less an internal “border” between the SDF region and non SDF regions. As there have been stunning developments several times, one cannot predict anything here with a high degree of certainty.

    • ajay prasad

      They have already crossed the river and setting up fire position,But they need to Make it in time to Block the Kurdish advance.

  • dutchnational

    Seems like ca fair recap of the situation.

    As far as the map of the northern side, Huseyniyah is right on the bank of the river, not 3 kms away. Taking this village/quarter means reaching the river bank.

    A bit to the north, the SDF has started to spread out and has taken the grain silos that provide an excellent defensible position if needed, No doubt, some of the forces are already digging in in case of a counterattack by IS or an attack by SAA.

    Given their present positions, the SDF has fire control over quite a bit of the northern river banks.

    Both sides should seek to prevent clashes. Better to shake hands than to shoot guns.

  • ελευθεριος βενιζελος

    the only way is to attack/deploy forces with helicopters and they can do t i think as long as the russians provides air cover…..

    • Moussa Saab

      It is very risky since ISIS will have a lot of militants securing the bank of the river surrounding the oil fields and the airlifting is kind of expected by ISIS

    • Brother Ma

      Problem is that us base is close to omar oil fields .am i wrong?

      • You can call me Al

        Take the base out first.

  • Manuel Flores Escobar

    Turkish air force are ready to Attack SDF in Deir Ezzor in the moment that they move to Omar oil fields..

    • Graeme Rymill

      It would be a huge gamble on the part of Turkey to directly attack US supported SDF troops. The odds on Turkish air strikes alone halting an SDF advance to the oilfields seems poor. Why attempt a high risk strategy with limited chance of success?

      • Manuel Flores Escobar

        a Turkish airstrike vs SDF in its way to Omar oil field change the US strategy!

        • Graeme Rymill

          Perhaps….or perhaps it would simply get a Turkish plane or two shot down.

  • DJ Double D

    If SAA looses the battle across the Euphrates and the oil fields – They will have themselves to blame. Too many strategic blunders in this war.

    • Attrition47

      The Syrians have had tens of thousands of casualties so a methodical strategy and attrition tactics are unavoidable.

    • goingbrokes

      Played too many Age of Empire games? Real war is rarely a string of victories against hapless opponents. If you consider that Syrian government forces and allies, have turned what looked a pretty hopeless situation to a practical victory it is actually very impressive. They have been against Saudi money (biggest purse on the planet), US Empire (biggest on the planet) supporting proxy forces militarily and otherwise, EU (one of the biggest economic blocs on planet) sanctions, Turkey’s (biggest military in NATO east of Atlantic) connivance, Israel’s (local heavyweight) active and passive support for any insurgent group, Jordan’s tacit support for operations conducted from there, Iraq in a mess that hasn’t helped. Add to that lying world media turning public perception against them year after year – they have done well! Tactically there may have been some short term blunders, situation being very complex, but strategically it is nothing short of brilliant.
      When the world is aligned against you to this extent, to say that you have only yourself to blame… it is kind of rude!

  • Blas de Lezo

    Let the PKK/YPG/SDF secessionists advance and draw ISIS forces. once they’re getting close to the Omar oilfieds block their path with an heliborne operation backed by Russian air power.

    • Solomon Krupacek

      this is not russian style

    • jhon malakiat

      if russia and saa cannot grab oil field, then destroy oil field totally.

      • Brother Ma

        Good idea.saa should torch them like saddam did in kuwait and iraq. Also russia should send in secret squads with biowarfare to kill off opium crops in afghan..money for headchoppers in syria gone!

      • You can call me Al

        I absolutely agree.

    • You can call me Al

      You don’t even need helicopters – the SAA have brought their heavy guns up already – for me I would just blitz them over the Euphrates.

  • RamboDave

    How could South Front write an analysis of this particular conflict and talk about a “deconfliction zone” without even telling us what it is? Yes…. we have heard about other deconfliction zones in Western Syria which were agreed to between Russia and the US Coalition. But, this is the first time SF has ever mentioned such a zone in Deir Ez-Zor area.

    Is this something agreed to by the parties or is it just made up by the US Coalition? The SF article gives the impression that the zone is official and a done deal, and area East of the Euphrates is in deconfliction and off limits.

    Why would Syria agree to such a thing?

    How could SF write an analysis article and not explain this important aspect?

    • dutchnational

      In an earlier article by SF it has been reported there is a small declonflicting room in southern Raqqah as a result of the downing of a Syrian mig. This room was to prevent new clashes and was between Ru/SAA and US/SDF and for the lines along the Euphrates.

      So it is more a question of you not reading an article than SF not explaining.

  • RamboDave

    I think this SDF-Kurd move toward Deir Ez Zor was done totally at the insistence of those Gulf States (and Israel). It does not represent official US policy.

    Keep in mind that the US Coalition includes the Saudis and Gulf States (with Israel being a silent partner). They are the ones pushing for partition, not the US. I don’t think Trump’s NSC wants to partition Syria. Trump decided back in April against a 150,000 troop invasion of Syria back then, up through the al-Tanf crossing near Jordan before it was closed. Since then, H.R. McMaster just kicked all of the “Israel first” crowd off of the NSC.

    If it comes to a partition of Syria, and it means further involvement of the US to protect the Kurds,
    so that they can steal oil resources, violate International Law, and create a never ending war, Trump’s NSC will certainly be against it. It is fairly well understood by most US military Generals like McMaster and Kelly and Mattis that we don’t need anymore wars for Israel.

    The Kurds can be stopped in their tracks with a simple phone call between Putin and H.R. McMaster. Putin can ask “well H.R., how far do you or Trump want to escalate this ?”
    “Do you want to fight ISIS, or do you want to create a new never ending conflict?”

    The answer from Trump will be, “let’s stop it right here and now.”

    • Mountains

      Hmm? Why would they put partition on their other arab brethrens.. I just wanted to debunk this fallcy. The Kurds gaining a foothold means that things get equally shared.

      Stop with this conspiracy theories

      • RamboDave

        The Saudis are Sunnis. They are the big losers from the Iraq war, which resulted in the Shia Crescent, and being able to drive from Tehran all the way to Hezbollah headquarters in Lebanon.
        They were promised back in 2002, during the buildup to the Iraq war, that in exchange for their participation, there would either be regime change in Syria or, at the very least a Sunni buffer state to prevent a Shia Crescent.

        Here is a short video of General Wesley Clark explaining it all.



        • Mountains

          Saudi arabia don’t care about sunnis and there is nothing called sunnis today. It’s a monarchy that is run like a bussiness company. They only think about themselves and want to remain.

          The term ”Sunni” is outdated as they themselves are far from each other where the majority of the sunnis share same belief system as the shiites except very very few who are still strict monotheistic like the Salafis but they are a tiny minority and may seem like they are many because they are productive compared to the others but they are a very tiny minority

        • Brother Ma

          Boy did usa fcuck that one up! All the coalition dead to make iraq from ant iran to pro iran. Good work, rumsfeld,wolfowitz,bush and powell!

          • You can call me Al

            Funny that because if you look at the overall global war picture, stupid mentality:

            Russia and China now in an alliance.
            Qatar and Iran now in an alliance.
            Qatar and Turkey now in an alliance.
            Syria and Turkey now in an alliance.
            Syria that was pretty neutral to all parties, now with Russia more than ever.
            Syria that was pretty neutral to all parties, now with China more than ever.
            Syria that was pretty neutral to all parties, now with Iran more than ever.

            Then you have South American, European and even Asian Countries forging new links +++++.

            I wonder if and when it will dawn on the US, that they are some serious dumb f*cks + their actually military are crap.

        • You can call me Al

          Actually the Saudis pretend they are Sunnis, when in fact they are a sick sect at best and a politic culture at worst – they are Wahhabis.

    • Solomon Krupacek

      I don’t think Trump’s NSC wants to partition Syria.

      he supports this plan

      Trump decided
      back in April against a 150,000 troop invasion of Syria back then.

      there was no such plan. you have no idea what does mean relocate 150 000 troops.the russian intel half year before would know such plans. and of course, inform the publicity.

    • Brother Ma

      Are u sure it isnot just wishful thinking on your part rambo. I reckon the zioyankee generals are pretty pro israel.they would not be allowed in the positions they have if they were not.

      • RamboDave

        Generally speaking, the Generals are “America first” …. not “Israel first”. And, they are not too happy about 4,500 dead US soldiers in Iraq, all for the purpose of making the Middle East safe for Israel so that Israel can keep the land they stole.

  • Langaniso Mhlobo

    Saudi Arabia and Israel has already agree to make Kurdistan state in Raqqa Deir Ezzor region.USA has to implement it knowing even if their attack SAA positions No one will stop them.

  • dutchnational

    Now, supported by a little bit of distance in time, the article is still very relevant, with a small discrepancy on the immideate tactics of the SAA. They did nor prioritize Jafra and a rivercrossing there, but went instead to the (mentioned) north-west, the university complex.

    I can understand that SF got it wrong as their choice would have been mine too (logically, not because I am pro SAA in general).

    It leaves the question whether trying a rivercrossing to the east of DeZ and before Mayadin later remains possible or if it will be useless because the SDF will have taken the north east riverbank.

    The arbiter of time will tell all.