HomeTop StoriesUS-backed fighters continue their offensive in eastern Syria against tribal members

US-backed fighters continue their offensive in eastern Syria against tribal members

QAMISHLI, Syria (AP) – US-backed fighters brought reinforcements to eastern Syria and continued their offensive against local tribesmen on Saturday. They say hundreds of pro-government gunmen have joined the region’s worst battles in years.

The clashes that erupted Monday after the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces arrested a former ally who commanded an Arab-led faction in the region left more than 50 people dead and dozens injured.

The clashes are fiercest in areas where hundreds of US troops have been deployed since 2015 to help in the fight against Islamic State. The extremists once controlled large parts of Syria and Iraq until their defeat in March 2019.

The US military on Thursday called for an end to days of fighting, warning it could promote the resurgence of Islamic State.

On Saturday, the SDF and a local tribesman clashed in an area between the village of Dhiban and the al-Omar oil field, Syria’s largest oil facility and home to one of the largest US bases in the war-torn country, according to the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition war monitor.

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Khaled Zeino, an SDF commander, told The Associated Press his troops advanced to reach the villages of Shheil and Baseera to cut off the flow of supplies from the west bank of the Euphrates River, where government forces and Iranian-backed militias are stationed. .

Zeino added that about 400 fully equipped fighters had crossed from the government side. He said small boats were used to take injured gunmen for treatment to the west bank, where government troops have been deployed.

On Friday evening, the SDF announced a 48-hour curfew on the eastern bank of the Euphrates.

The Observatory said six days of fighting killed at least 54 people and injured dozens more.

At least 900 US troops are in eastern Syria every day, along with an undisclosed number of contractors. They are working with the SDF to prevent an IS comeback.


Associated Press writer Bassem Mroue in Beirut contributed to this report.

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