Syrian, Russian and Iranian forces are holding joint drills in the western countryside of Deir Ezzor, al-Watan reported on October 2.
The Syrian newspaper said that warplanes and rocket launchers are taking part in the drills, which began on October 1.
“These developments coincided with a civil uprising against the Syrian Democratic Force (SDF) and the U.S. occupation in most of their areas [in northeastern Syria],” al-Watan’s short report reads.
Several local sources, including Deir Ezzor 24, Euphrates Post and Deir Ezzor Media Center, confirmed that joint Syrian, Russian and Iranian drills are taking place in western Deir Ezzor. The source said that the SDF had informed locals of the drills.
The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allies control Deir Ezzor’s city center, the governorate’s western countryside, the western bank of the Middle Euphrates River Valley and a small pocket on the eastern bank of the river. Meanwhile, the SDF controls the entire eastern and northeastern countryside.
The drills appear to be aimed at deterring the SDF and the U.S.-led coalition. In the last few months, several sources claimed that the coalition is planning an assault on the Euphrates’ western bank in order to cut the road to Iraq.