SDF, ISIS and the Syrian Arab Army: Deir Ezzor and the Battles to Come

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SDF, ISIS and the Syrian Arab Army: Deir Ezzor and the Battles to Come

FILE IMAGE: Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and army troops

Written by Hadi Gholami Nohouji exclusively for SouthFront

Little over two weeks has passed since the end of the siege of Deir Ezzor and now there seems to be increasing tensions and hostilities against the two factions hunting down the remaining ISIS pockets in the eastern areas of Syria.

The city of Deir Ezzor, under siege for a little more than 3 years (second only to the Siege of Sarajevo that had place from April of 1992 to February of 1996), was broken by the Syrian Army and its allies, an event considered by many as the end of the Islamic State’s reign in eastern Syria.

The celebrations didn’t last very long since the U.S backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) launched their own offensive against ISIS in the Deir Ezzor Governorate, a military operation aimed at expanding the areas under the control of the Syrian Kurds.

The simultaneous operations launched by the SAA (Syrian Arab Army) and the SDF to take control of the zones on the banks of the Euphrates River has pitted the two forces combating the Islamic State against each other and the situation could, very rapidly, escalate into a full blown military confrontation between the two forces and even their backers.

As of now there have been little to no incidents of military confrontations between the Syrian forces and the SDF but the proximity of the two factions (which now effectively control adjacent zones near Khusham, about 13 kilometers away from the city of Deir Ezzor) and their competition for the zones under the extremist’s control indicates that a showdown between SAA and SDF is just a matter of time.

SDF, ISIS and the Syrian Arab Army: Deir Ezzor and the Battles to Come

Click to see the full-size map

This is especially true for the areas near Tabieh Gas Plant and the Jafra oil field, areas that host a great part of eastern Syria’s oil and natural gas resources and that, because of their economical significance, are ideal objectives of both the SAA and SDF.

Uncertainty now looms over the future of Deir Ezzor and the confrontation of the two factions makes possible the increased intervention of the external players (AKA Russia and United States) in the Syrian conflict, something that could change the equilibrium of power in Syria depending on how deep each of those two superpower would be willing to go in Syria.

Still, the presence of Russian advisors close to the battle zones and the recent losses of Russian servicemen and officers in and around Deir Ezzor suggest that Moscow has been and is more than willing to increase its logistical support to its Syrian allies so they can outmaneuver the Syrian Kurds and secure the western banks of Euphrates River and, if possible, the shared frontier zones of Syria and Iraq.

This, (just) in theory, could in turn force the U.S to up the game and increase its presence and its aerial and logistical support of the Syrian Democratic Forces, a decision that wouldn’t sit very well with Turkey, a Washington ally and a NATO member, but it is highly unlikely that Washington would go all-in in Syria.

It would be wise to discard any kind of direct conflict between the United States and Russia in eastern Syria since the U.S is unlikely to risk even a limited military confrontation with Moscow in Syria, where, because of the rapid advances of the Syrian forces in the last few weeks, it no longer is able to achieve its past stated objectives without having to pay a very lofty price to secure its now non-existent interests.

It is because of this that it is highly recommended to not pay any heed to the kind of sensational articles and so called analysis that even warn of the World War III starting in Syria because of military clashes between the U.S and Russia.

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  • Zainab Ali

    it is great to know the russian led coalition is clean with their resistance strategies … not like the satanic losers, playing dirty is their trademark

    • BMWA1

      The Syrian president and former eye doctor certainly looks clean-cut in the photo!

      • Terra Cotta Woolpuller

        He is still an Opthalmic Surgeon so you can call him Dr. Bashar al Assad, opthalmologists seem to never retire and become former and definitely not optometrists.

  • That Netherland trash Dutch National is annoying as hell.
    Reading his comments gives me a headache.

    • Mountains

      Speak for yourself. His a fan-favourite in SF. I share his vision and so do many other posters

      • dutchnational

        Thank you very much.

        I try to give a more balanced view on the topics here, a view not shared by the many ass-adophyles here who are much given to ranting and namecalling.

        • Alex

          LOl, you are full of shit, it’s so typical for people of your origin, same sugar-coated BS shit you hear from the EU politicians, IMHO, lots talking but so little action. Let’s be honest, you are in those countries to rob them, not to build.

        • Sup, Netherland trash!

        • Terra Cotta Woolpuller

          Wish you actually were balanced but you just give your own opinion making you extremely biased and not neutral.

      • Alex

        two old farts on same medicine, yeah you sure do have same vision, probablu using same brand too.

    • EmilyEnso

      Why bother with fake news?

    • Jacek Wolski

      Well if it gives you a headache try Asprin or better still, a spoon full of toughen the fuck up.

    • Barba_Papa

      If a dissenting opinion gives you a headache you are in for a lot of trouble. For life is full of assholes, and they all have opinions. And they all tend to post comments too.

      In the end dutchnational is like me, just some guy on the internet. What do you care? If the sun is shining have a look outside and smile. If not put on some fun music and relax. Learn to let go, you will live longer.

    • Attrition47

      Blam the fucker. ;o)

    • Solomon Krupacek

      He is kurdish terrorist migrant in marijuanaland.

      • Bob

        Concise and neat assessment!

    • Turbofan

      Remember there is the block option..dont let silly comments from an ISIS troll give you headaches

    • John

      Hey swirly. I find that a different opinon can help keep me on the right track. dutch has their take and is nowhere near nasty about it. I like polite discussion, when possible. :P So, it´s all good with me. If I start wanting for this or that person to shutup, then I am no better than the guys actively hiding the truth. I wish you a great day.

  • Mountains

    In my opinion the SAA-Russio camp has been hallucinating alot and thinking everything was against them or everyone is ISIS where ISIS became Israel and vice-versa.. They have mixed water with milk.

    The best outcome was seeing them get deprived of victory.. They have been fighting but just for nothing.

    They have been wasted. It’s like a company that people invested billions into it then it went bankrupt

    • Alex

      sounds like you campain against Assad and building isis and other proxies, Russia came and has put a stop to your grand plan, no more isis, no more fsa, almost no nusra and soon no sdf :)

      • Mountains

        See this is what I’m talking about.. They have become nothing else but parrots repeating things.

        You don’t understand my political goals. Why would you assume I’m FSA or Isis fan. This is ridiculous. Typical SAA paranoia. You know it’s bullshit narrative at the end of the day

        • Alex

          En, by the looks of things you ‘re a big usa fan, at least that’s what i can tell by reading your comments, fsa and the rest of the proxies are just tools, you just want usa to get an upper hand by any means, so. My narrative reflects the negativity of the western action in Syria and elsewhere, if that looks like bs to you than that’s only because western actions are bs.

        • Turbofan

          “You don’t understand my political goals”

          Hahaha..Political goals from a nobody…Get out of your moms basement!!!

    • andy l

      I think it is you who is hallucinating. It is the US who have been deprived of victory as Russia has quashed any regime change plans & prevented the government from collapsing. The SAA have been making huge gains all across the country. Russia & Iran along with Turkey implemented the deconfliction zones which further impacted on the terrorists. In what world is this not a victory. Yes the Kurds are making gains into the rich oil fields of Deir Ezzor but I seriously doubt in any post settlement scenario they will be allowed to keep over half of the countrys oil wealth when they make up only 10-15% of the population.

    • Bob

      That makes no sense whatsoever – the Syrian-Russian forces have succeeded in lifting the siege on Deir Ezzore – the same siege that the US military did everything they could do to facilitate the township falling to ISIS. That is a basic definition of a victory. As for the SDF -they are just another foreign-sponsored proxy faction inside the Syrian state that are making a lot of immediate and regional enemies for themselves very quickly.

  • Behold a Pale Horse

    GET ON WITH IT. There should be nothing left alive in the desert areas around these cities. What exactly are the Russians bombing? Even in the WW2 anything in the open was a sitting duck to a fighter bomber.

    • wwinsti

      The RUAF appears to be tied down in areas in or near Idlib. Farsnews suggests Russian ad systems are moving eastwards, the possibility of a Russian air base in Deir Ezzor has been discussed.

      • Terra Cotta Woolpuller

        The Russian Base was confirmed 2 days ago Persians always are slow with other news.

  • dutchnational

    This is a rather balanced view portrayed here, not completely up to date maybe, but in essence mostly correct imo.

    The escalating, racist and sectarian histrionics, hysterics even, are unnecessary and only distort what is happening here.

    For SDF the easter countryside of DeZ is important in a number of ways.

    Firstly it gives a rounded off region where democracy can florish in a multi-ethnic way, free from the oppression of Assadists.
    Secondly, it gives a well balanced economic region for Northern Syria. Imo the agricultural complexes of the Khabur Valley are just as important to the region as the oilwells.
    Thirdly, it gives the region more people mass, a recruiting base to enhance their numbers. A strategy that is factually already working out.
    Fourthly, it gives, potentially, the US a staging area for anti-terrorism, a plague that will continue in the wider region for the foreseeable future.
    Fifthly, it gives the peoples of Syria an alternative. Not a theoretical alternative, but a practical one. Autonomy can be applied elsewhere in Syria but also in Iraq.

    In a recent interview the foreign minister of Syria gave the first “real” opening towards the SDF, mentioning that autonomy WITHIN Syria is something that can be discussed.It is an early bird, but maybe it is the opening through which autonomy, inalienably, can be established.

    To the betterment of all Syrians.

    • Alex

      Load of BS, you are way too optimistic, using happy pills ? US building economy in a foreign land, that only works when it’s inhabitant are capable, like germany or japan, here it is clearly not the case :), us anti-terror, hahahahahahahaha, rest of your comment is so off, it feels like you are living in a different reality IMHO.

    • Attrition47

      Sounds like Himmler planning to digest Poland….

    • Barba_Papa

      Dude, do you read what you type? When has the US ever created a good and happy place, or actually did something against terrorism that was actually useful? Afghanistan is a mess, Iraq is a mess, Libya is a mess. It’s not that I hate the country, but whatever it seems to touch turns to shit. The US has been fighting terrorism since 9-11 and what has it accomplished? Al Qaida is not defeated but become a global brand. And ISIS, an indirect creation by the US through their invasion and occupation of Iraq, has now also become a global brand. It’s only succeeded in creating more terrorism, better terrorism and more fanatical terrorism. Just like the Israelis. Whose book on dealing with terrorism the US seems to have read and accepted.

      As for the Kurds and democracy, I don’t have much high hopes for it. There’s a reason they’re the darlings of social justice warriors and Antifa nutters in the West, for they’re extremely leftwing. I don’t think their radicalism will go down will with more traditional Arabs, who seemed to have not that much difficulty with most of the tenets of ISIS.

    • RichardD

      You’re a big ziotroll liar. Lie after lie after lie.

      “it gives, potentially, the US a staging area for anti-terrorism, a plague that will continue in the wider region for the foreseeable future.”

      The entire Syria war is one giant Jew world order terror campaign. And now you’re promoting throwing gasoline on the fire with your inflammatory hasbara propaganda.

    • Gonçalo Pena

      I am an european antifascist but I do not believe in your plan. US are not at any costs to be trusted. Since the 60’s they ever relinquished their imperialist agenda, fuelled in ME by Israel. Syria must remain united with its multi-ethnicy inside, the same way european countries must brace for the mix and live with it. Kurds are very PR photogenic, the girls are making nice poses for artsy liberal eyes, but that’s all. I believe in an autonomous Kurdistan but not with americans, or israelis making their moves inside. That would just continue unstability and colonialism in ME. And the Syrian and Russian government should start to make PR correct moves in Europe. We are sick of americans but the campaign of fear from Russia, pays well here. Putin should stop to pet far-right parties here and make a constructive dialogue with Macron, Merkel and other center positions. The same with Assad. Far right just create brutes, war-lords, wanton abuse, and racism. Pride for the arabs, pride for the kurds. Kick Americans out and every fascist.

    • Bob

      So basically you just outlined your Geo-political preference for the dismantling and fracturing of all the large secular Arab republics in the immediate vicinity of Israel. There is a name for this ideology and its policy application – Neo-Conservatism – and it further accords with the Greater Israel school of thought.

    • Terra Cotta Woolpuller

      Like Barba_Papa said you should read the shit you shovel so much contradictory statements made opposed to current and past fact.

  • χρηστος

    dez has 75% of syrias oil.now the race is lot for Syrians. sdf has reached them first. that means that all efforts of reconstruction of after war syria will be hopeless unless you bargain with the Kurds-US. that is bad news for me. its a great pity for the SAA that has been fighting for years ,liberated almost 80% of the ISIS held territory but lost key objective.

    • João Leston

      has what? Could you give me your source? Because mine says that it has 45% +/-. Nevertheless, we are talking about a country, the Kurds can’t really think that a country will give them they’re resources just because they got there first ;)

      • Turbofan

        Very true bro

      • χρηστος

        i will try to find the source. even if its 45% its very big for the kUrds to have….and Syria cannot afford to lose them. As you correctly said

        • Terra Cotta Woolpuller

          Those fields are about 10k bpd and they haven’t produced much for some time.

          • χρηστος

            even the slightest income from oil is essential for SYria. its a country of ruins. huge funds will be needed for the recontruction

    • Terra Cotta Woolpuller

      They need major investment and the SDF don’t have them they are still in the hands of ISIS , they make some videos and are gone afterwards.

      • χρηστος

        ISIS=SDF……its obvious. if SAA tries to take them they will have to fight like in hell, if the US wants, sdf will have them in a plate.

      • χρηστος

        hope its true……SDF has nothing to do with that territory….

  • Deo Cass

    I beg to disagree with this illusory reassuring analysis . The US has already declared war on Russia saying that Russia had hacked the US elections. The US has also made a case for war against Russia with the US general public with the US media hysterically beating the war drum against Russia. The US missile defense (offence) Shield targetting Russia is fully operational and ready for action. NATO troops are in place on Russia’s border waiting for the order to invade Russia. What’s holding the US and NATO is Russia’s control over the tap of Western Europe’s energy supply which is predominantly dependant on Russia, which would surely suspend the flow of gas into Europe if attacked. That’s why the US wants to steal Syria’s oil and especially gas resources. To link them to Iraq’s oil pipeline and siphon Syria’s and Iraq’s gas to Wetern Europe cutting all dependence on Russia and freeing its hand to launch a major aggression and invasion of Russia. Russia should not illude itself that this time things will turn out like in WWII. Things could very well end up differently for Russia and even if Russia could prevail in some miraculous manner the cost paid in human loss and devastation would be incalculable. The US has already officially directly attacked Russia and made its point quite clear that it is at war with Russia by assassinating a leading Russian general who was a close ally of President Putin and two major officers in the Russian army. Russia’s lack of reaction to this blatant act of war by the US, which has illegally invaded and occupied Syrian sovereign land leaves me perplexed because it clearly sends a signal to the US that Russia is incapabable of defending itself let alone Syria from US aggression. This enboldens the US to up the ante and carry out increasingly daring attacks against Russia and Russia’s interests until the time comes for D Day, the moment when the US connects Syria’s Deir Ezzur gas resources to Western Europe and launches an all out war against Russia. That’s why control of the Estern banks of Deir Ezzur is of existential importance for both the survival of the Syrian state and of the Russian Federation. Russia and Putin better face the US/Zionist enemy now, on Syrian soil, where it has the legal high ground, than on its own homeland. That’s why this battle is a battle for life or death for Russia and Syria. Putin should throw all Russia’s military resources to help the Syrian state defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity and most importantly reclaim Syria’s natural gas and oil resources on the Estern banks of the Euphrates river to prevent the US and Israel from destroying the Syrian state, loot its natural resources and lauch a devastating aggression afainst the Russian mainland. Inaction abd procrastination on the part of Russia is fatal both for Syria and for Russia and for Putin himself.

  • Attrition47

    Eastern Syria is an ideal place for the Russians to challenge US
    imperial brinkmanship – like the Spanish ulcer was to Napoleon, Syria
    (and Afghanistan) are to American Caesar. He’s overstretched and could
    easily go POP! before General Jack D. Ripper starts worrying about his
    precious bodily fluids.

    • cortisol

      The US base complex in east Syria can easily be made untenable with a little co-operation between Syria, Iraq, Turkey and Iran. I believe there are strong mutual interests to achieve this.

      Clinton bragged that they would implement a no fly zone. Well, tables have turned now.

  • hvaiallverden

    hehe
    I recommend people to read this Dyke-national carefully, because sometimes we encounter utter bullshit and its easy to recognize, but this uh…. douche-thing is what I define an “quality” bullshit, and “quality” bullshit is usually good, because they know how to twist reality’s, eloquently, but it depends much more on what they drool about, and this time, the duoche is of course, skipping some basics, to fit their narratives, we all know this, incl the Duochbag.
    The sole problem, is two fold, the uISISa and Israel, the scums of this earth.
    Anything else is rubbish.

    But again, before some of us gets hanged because we dont believe in AGW, I am an free speak fundamentalist, rock hard one, if you cant handle others, profanity’s or whatever, you have an problem.
    I sometimes for it hard to use other narratives as to resort to profanity’s, stupid f…. is everywhere, but the Duochbag is an eloquent shit head, spreader of “quality” bullshit, I give Him that.

    But I have even tried to warn the Hasbaratnjiks, eventually, they expose them self, make their own case more and more idiotic while trying to silence anything they dont like, and it will backfire, thats why the MSM is censuring everything this days.

    Thanks Duochbag.
    And I mean it.

    peace

  • Ronald

    “It is highly unlikely that Washington would go all-in , in Syria ” , that is a mistake , the US is already “all-in” in Syria . They started this in 2006 , with efforts to bribe officers to coup , assassination , create friction with Iran and Turkey , economic road blocks etc.. Nothing was obvious , nor was bringing in Al Qaeda in 2006 , and shooting the protesters , and latter having ISIS slide across the border from Iraq , where Bush started this whole mess . Sixteen out of nineteen bases built in Iraq were built in Kurdish areas . They would like to prove to the world , Russia is not the “right” ally .

  • cortisol

    I said it before, but what would be very effective is a full land blockade deal of SDF area between Turkey, Iraq, Syria and Iran. Later after Isis driven off, air blockade as well. Only to be lifted if they agree to throw out USA and return oil and gas fields to the rightful owner of sovereign Syria. I think some kind of semi autonomy would be correct for kurdistan, but only if they don’t house Israel and its ferocious attack dog USA, who are threatening all arabs and kurds alike.

    • Wahid Algiers

      That’ s what it is.

  • RichardD

    “It would be wise to discard any kind of direct conflict between the United States and Russia in eastern Syria since the U.S is unlikely to risk even a limited military confrontation with Moscow in Syria, where, because of the rapid advances of the Syrian forces in the last few weeks, it no longer is able to achieve its past stated objectives without having to pay a very lofty price to secure its now non-existent interests.”

    Yes and no. A direct conflict isn’t a probability, I agree. But to dismiss Kurdish secession attempts as “non existent interests” is to ignore the DE conflict as it is playing out on the ground right now. It’s clearly Jew world order regime change plan B. The Jew world order, while contained and being extinguished in the rest of Syria, is still expanding in eastern Syria. And is going to try to partition as much of north and east Syria as it can.

    It would be foolish to ignore repeated US air strikes on Syrian government coalition forces that have already occurred. And assume that the Russians have talked some sense into the US and Israelis, and that they’re now going to behave themselves. There are a lot of options short of direct peer conflict that the Jew world order is, and will continue to use, to try to solidify partitioning Syria and setting up Israel II in the north to cause big problems.

  • Cheryl Brandon

    the POTSAR goes out to meet his Liberators and warrioRs and heroes!Keep fighting SAA, you have done so well and, you will have the final say! I hear SOHR/ The Saditsic Destructive Fiends SDF are making a lot of noise but, that is because they have been neutralised! Blocked by Turkey in the north west/ Blocked from Iraninan air space and now blocked of by SAA; wonderful!

  • Gary Wells

    I don’t see how this plays out well at all. The Syrian government, naturally enough, is committed to regaining control of all its territory. The US, and by extension, its proxies, SDF, ISIS, et al, are compelled by their master, Israel to do everything to subvert and obstruct the SAA and their allies from achieving their objectives.

    Perhaps, a bold move is called for. What if Russian and Syrian paratroopers were to make a surprise visit to the US bases overwhelming them by sheer numbers, taking all present into custody, and seizing all their equipment. I know the US would scream bloody murder, but would they really do anything? My feeling is no. At heart, the US has become a cowardly excuse for a country. They’re scared s**tless of Russia.