On December 19, several Syrian pro-government and opposition media outlets and bllogs reported that the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) had handed over its positions in the village of Khasham on the eastern bank of the Euphrates in the province of Deir Ezzor to the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
However, these reports were never confirmed by any official sources. Moreover, Syrian local sources said on December 20 that clashes between the SAA and the SDF took place in Khasham. According to the sources, units of the SDF’s Deir Ezzor Military Council (DMC) attacked SAA oppositions in Khasham. However, the SAA repelled the attack.
Hours later, Ahma al-Khabil, a commander of the DMC, denied that that the SDF attacked the SAA in Ksham, according to the pro-opposition news outlet SMART. The Al-Khabil statement also confirmed that the village was under the control of the SAA and that the reported deal was nothing but fake news.
Pro-government sources also reported on December 19, that the SDF raised the Syrian flag on all the public buildings in Sheikh Maqsood district in the northern part of Aleppo city. While many pro-government and oppositions activists claimed again that this act is a part of the same supposed “deal” between the SAA and the SDF, local sources revealed that the flags were raised as a part of an old agreement to provide public services in the SDF-held areas inside the city and nothing more.
Many observers questioned the supposed deal between the SAA and the SDF when it was first reported. The reports came only one day after Syrian President Bashar al-Assad described US-backed forces in eastern Syria as “traitors” during a meeting with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin.
The SDF responded to the Syrian president statement within hours and accused him of opening “the doors of the country [Syria] wide in front of the hordes of foreign terrorism”.
As a result tensions between the SAA and the SDF reached grew once again with the both sides openly admitting that the other is a foe. A political deal between these two sides is highly unlikely right now.