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Clashes Between National Defense and SDF East of Deir-ez-Zor

The SDF has not issued a statement regarding the events.
Clashes Between National Defense and SDF East of Deir-ez-Zor

Groups of the National Defense militia (auxiliary forces of the Syrian regime) launched attacks on military positions held by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) along the Euphrates River in Deir-ez-Zor’s western and eastern countryside. The SDF retaliated against the sources of fire. 

Enab Baladi’s correspondent in Deir-ez-Zor reported clashes on Wednesday evening, June 19, between the National Defense and the SDF on the riverbanks where both groups are stationed. Casualty details were not immediately available.

Following these attacks, a member of the National Defense was killed near the Cardiac Hospital on the river’s west bank by SDF snipers positioned in el-Geneina town in the western countryside of Deir-ez-Zor.

According to an official military source in the Asayish of the Autonomous Administration, the SDF deployed snipers along the Euphrates River starting in early June to prevent nighttime smuggling between the riverbanks. The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to media, added that the snipers were empowered to engage directly if necessary, in contrast to usual contact protocols between the regime and the SDF.

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The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, based in London, reported “violent clashes” involving machine guns and RPG shells, accompanied by mutual artillery exchanges between the SDF and the National Defense across the Euphrates River. The clashes resulted in the death of a National Defense member, with heavy machine gun fire targeting the Shamiya area from al-Sabha town within SDF-controlled territory.

As of now, the SDF has not issued a statement regarding the events. Since September 2023, periodic mutual shelling has occurred between Syrian regime forces and pro-Iranian militias on the west bank of the Euphrates River, and the SDF on the east bank in Deir-ez-Zor governorate, eastern Syria.

In February, the SDF announced it had thwarted an infiltration attempt by a group of “mercenaries supported by the security services of the Syrian regime” toward Dhiban, al-Kashma, and al-Shafa across the Euphrates River. On October 29, 2023, the SDF reported that Syrian regime groups and their security services launched heavy artillery, mortar, and Dushka weapon attacks on Abu Hardoub, Dhiban, and Abu Hamam villages, resulting in casualties, including civilians.

In response, the SDF conducted a missile strike on Mayadeen city, a long-standing hub controlled by pro-Iranian militias, resulting in fatalities and injuries. Sputnik reported that a civilian was killed and about 40 others, mostly children and women, were wounded in retaliation for the “liberation” of a town near a U.S. base in Deir-ez-Zor’s eastern countryside.


This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.

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