On December 20, the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) announced that its fighters repelled an attack by ISIS on their positions in the villages of Hamam and Jaras Sharqi on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River in the southeastern Deir Ezzor countryside. ISIS fighters had exploited a sand storm that hit the region to launch their attack, according to the SDF.
During the clashes in Hamam and Jaras Sharqi, the SDF lost three of its fighters and killed eleven members of ISIS.
ISIS also attacked a checkpoint of the SDF in the town of al-Shheell north of Hamam and Jaras Sharqi, according to Syrian oppositions sources. The sources said that seven civilians and a fighter of the SDF were killed in the attack, a Humvee armored vehicle was destroyed.
In a related development, the SDF announced that 242 new fighters finished their training in the SDF camps, and that these new fighters will join the fight against ISIS in Deir Ezzor soon. According to the SDF, the new fighters are a part of a new border security force. This force wil be tasked with securing the SDF-held parts of the Syrian-Iraqi border once ISIS is defeated.