What You Need to Know:
In eastern Syria, clashes erupted between two US-backed factions, resulting in the deaths of three fighters. These clashes have raised concerns due to the presence of American troops in the region. The incident highlights potential divisions between US-backed Arab and Kurdish fighters, a matter of concern considering the area’s proximity to Iraq and its historical association with the Islamic State group.
These clashes followed the detention of Ahmad Khbeil, also known as Abu Khawla, leader of a formerly allied group. The detention took place after a meeting in Hassakeh. Questions have arisen about Khbeil’s possible affiliations with the Syrian government and Turkey, which has a history of military actions against Kurdish fighters.
Khbeil’s followers, who were also detained, belong to a significant tribal group in eastern Syria. This development recalls a previous clash between Kurds and Arabs, resulting in an Arab fighter’s death. The situation escalated in Deir el-Zour, where three members of the Deir el-Zour Military Council, aligned with the SDF, lost their lives. Additionally, reports indicate that Arab tribesmen expressed their discontent by blocking roads in the province.
Further complicating matters, Kurdish police forces, Asayesh, reportedly detained citizen journalists and confiscated equipment from the Baz news network, a group of activists. This incident raises concerns about press freedom.
In eastern Syria, around 900 US forces, along with undisclosed contractors, collaborate with the SDF to prevent the resurgence of the Islamic State group. As tensions persist, the situation underscores the challenges faced by factions competing for control in the region.