The Syrian Democratic Forces stationed near Deir ez-Zor, a city on the border of Syrian regime territory and not far from the Iraqi border, have been engaged by President Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian regime government forces along with supporting militia elements. Based on conflict monitor, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, findings so far 6 SDF soldiers have been killed.

Pro-regime news outlets are reporting that government forces have captured 4 villages that were previously held by the SDF. The villages are positioned near the west shore of the Euphrates River, an area that has been in dispute for some time now. Local news agency SANA has reported that the Pro-Assad forces, “liberated four villages east of the Euphrates River from the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces on Sunday.” The villages were named as Al-Jnenah,  Shamra al-Hisan, Al-Jee’a, and Hawiqa al-Maishiya.

Saturday evening the primarily Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces conducted a successful counter offensive operation to reclaim the lost villages. Both parties are currently participating in anti-Islamic State millitary operations in the region. Deir ez-Zor has large oil deposits and is the site of the infamous 200 strong Wagner Group mercenary attack that lead to a crushing defeat at the hands of the United States military. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claimed that this was the first time the 2 military forces had seriously clashed.

Mustefa Bali, SDF spokesman, announced on Sunday that the SDF and Assad forces had an “exchange of gunfire” take place in the territory. An SDF statement read, “The Syrian regime army along with its militias started to attack our forces in Deir ez-Zor countryside along the Euphrates River.”

SDF representative Kino Gabriel said, “The Syrian regime army, along with its militias, started to attack our forces in the Deir ez-Zor countryside along the Euphrates River in order to block the launch of our operation against terrorism. Since yesterday evening until now, the Syrian regime forces, militias and allies are targeting our forces’ positions along the contact lines and trying to advance towards the already liberated villages. Our forces continue to respond to the source of fire in self-defense. We, as the Syria Democratic Forces, reaffirm our commitment and determination to pull up terrorism by its roots. We also affirm our right of self-defense. We consider this aggression and attack by the Syrian regime to be in support of terrorism and an attempt to block the efforts made to defeat terrorism.”

Featured Image Courtesy of Zana Omar (VOA) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons