SDF says external actors seek to cause strife in Syria’s Deir ez-Zor

QAMISHLI, Syria (North Press) – The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) stated on Saturday that external parties exploited Operation Security Reinforcements against ISIS and propagated a false narrative to cause strife among the diverse peoples of the region.

The Media Center of the SDF said, “various external actors intervened and sought to exploit this operation as an opportunity to realize their own agendas, particularly in the past three days.”

On Aug. 27, the SDF launched a military operation called “Security Reinforcement” with the support of the US-led Global Coalition on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River, specifically in Deir ez-Zor, “to eradicate ISIS sleeper cells, pursue criminals responsible for perpetrating injustices against the local population, and to track down smugglers who exploit the populace’s livelihoods.”

On Aug. 30, the SDF announced the dismissal of commander of Deir ez-Zor Military Council, Ahmad al-Khabil, known as Abu Khawla, from duty, for his involvement “in multiple crimes and violations, including communication and coordination with external entities hostile to the revolution, committing criminal offenses and engaging in drug trafficking, mismanaging of the security situation, his negative role in increasing the activities of ISIS cells,” according to the SDF.

The operation led to the eruption of clashes between the SDF and gunmen affiliated with the dismissed leaders and with Nawaf al-Bashir, leader of al-Baggara tribe and a pro-Iranian figure whose groups are active in the western bank of the Euphrates which is under the control of the Syrian government forces and Iranian-backed militias.

The statement added that external actors “propagated a distorted narrative, falsely portraying these confrontations as being between the SDF and the indigenous population of Deir Ezzor. It is imperative to emphasize that these claims amount to baseless and misleading media propaganda.”

The SDF stressed the operation was conducted at “the explicit request of the people of Deir Ezzor, including the esteemed sheiks and tribal leaders, who were intimately acquainted with its intended objectives and execution.”

The SDF reiterated that there is no tension between the Arab tribes of Deir ez-Zor and their forces and called on the people of the region to not be manipulated by what is being propagated.

By Stella Youssef