On May 11, the US-led coalition announced in an official statement that the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) had returned fire at an unidentified force that shelled one of its positions in Deir Ezzor governorate. The coalition added the SDF had destroyed an artillery piece of the attackers.
According to Syrian opposition activists, the artillery piece that was destroyed by the SDF was stationed on the western bank of the Euphrates river, which is under the control of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA).
“We and our partners have repeatedly emphasized our non-negotiable right to self-defense,” said Major General Felix Gedney, deputy commander for strategy and support for the US-led coalition said in the statement.
The US-led coalition said that it discussed the incident with the Russian military via established ground and air deconfliction lines and stressed that the fire exchange didn’t result in any casualties on either side.
Hours after the incident, Syrian oppositions sources reported that clashes had erupted between the SDF and the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) in the village of al-Salihiyah on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River. This could mean that the SAA was the force that had shelled the SDF position earlier.
Recently, Deir Ezzor governorate has witnessed several clashes between the SDF and the SAA. On April 29, the SAA launched an attack on the SDF in the governorate. However, the US-Russian deconfliction line de-escalated the situation and imposed a ceasefire back then.