On February 7, the US Central Command (CENTCOM) announced in an official statement that the US-led coalition conducted several strikes against units of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) in Deir Ezzor governorate. CENTCOM claimed that the SAA was conducting “an unprovoked attack against well-established Syrian Democratic Forces [SDF] headquarters.”
“The Coalition remains committed to focusing on the defeat-Daesh [ISIS] mission in the Middle Euphrates River Valley and asserts its non-negotiable right to act in self-defense.” CENTCOM said in its official statement.
Local sources reported that the US-led coalition strikes targeted several positions of the SAA around the town of Khasham on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River in the eastern Deir Ezzor countryside. Clashes between the SAA and the US-backed SDF are still ongoing around the town, according to the sources.
Earlier, Syrian opposition activists reported that the SAA is massing its forces in Khasham and preparing to launch an attack against the SDF positions in the CONICO gas facility and the Jafar oil field. However, Syrian pro-government sources doubted that the SAA could launch such an attack against the US-backed force while it is fighting on many other fronts in the governorates of Hama, Aleppo, Idlib and Damascus.
The US-led coalition strike on the SAA will likely reignite the tension between the Damascus government and the Kurdish-dominated SDF after it had faded away for a while due to the Turkish Army attack on the Afrin area.
So far, the SDF and the Damascus government have not commented on the incident.