Head of Iran-back militia crosses Euphrates to fight SDF in Deir ez-Zor

DEIR EZ-ZOR, Syria (North Press) – The commander of an Iranian-backed militia crossed on Sunday to areas east of the Euphrates River to fight the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and attack the US-led Global Coalition bases in Deir ez-Zor Governorate, eastern Syria.

North Press detected photos of Hashem al-Sattam, the commander of the Iranian-backed Usud al-Uqaydat militia, wearing traditional tribal outfits and sunglasses while crossing the Euphrates River along with other militants to fight the SDF.

A local source told North Press that al-Sattam crossed the River near the town of Diban in the eastern countryside of Deir ez-Zor adjacent to the base of the Global Coalition in the al-Omar oil field. 

On Sunday, Diban and surrounding villages witnessed clashes between gunmen affiliated with the government forces and Iranian-backed militias, and the SDF.

The National Defense Forces (NDF), affiliated with the Syrian government forces, held on Sunday a funeral ceremony for one of their militants in the town of Sabikhan in the east of Deir ez-Zor, and another for an NDF commander, Muhammad al-Jibara, 44, in the town of Abu Hardoub who had crossed to areas held by the SDF.

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 and  pursue criminals who committed crimes against the local population.

Later 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.

The operation led to the eruption of clashes between the SDF and gunmen affiliated with the dismissed leader 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. 

By Zana al-Ali