On March 19, the Deir Ezzor Military Council (DMC) announced that it had carried out a campaign to close all river crossings in the Middle Euphrates River Valley.
The DMC is the local branch of the Syrian Democratic Forces in Deir Ezzor (SDF) in Deir Ezzor. The council’s forces are in control of the eastern bank of the Euphrates River, where several crossing used to move people and goods between government and SDF-held areas in Deir Ezzor are located.
During the campaign, DMC fighters raided a number of river crossing and destroyed several ferries used to ship goods and oil to the western bank of the Euphrates River which is held by Syrian government forces.
Some sources claimed that clashes broke out between the DMC and government forces in the course of the campaign. However, this is yet to be confirmed.
The US-led coalition and the SDF have been cracking down on trade with government-held areas for a more than a year now. Earlier this month, US forces stormed a river crossing near the SDF-held town of al-Hawajidz in southeastern Deir Ezzor. Local workers were forced out of the area.
The DMC’s recent campaign is meant to stop smuggling to government-held areas, which are facing a harsh economic crisis. Earlier this week, the SDF resumed wheat and oil shipments to Damascus.
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