Deir el-Zour Conflict and United States Allies in Syria’s Ongoing Civil War
Amidst Syria’s civil war, Deir el-Zour experiences escalating clashes as United States allies seek to resolve the conflict, sparking controversy and security concerns while addressing local grievances.
The Role of United States Allies in Deir el-Zour Conflict Resolution
Deir el-Zour, a significant oil-rich province, is once again plunged into turmoil amidst the ongoing civil war in Syria. Recent clashes have erupted, marking the culmination of longstanding tensions between the local Arab population and the Syrian wing of the PKK terrorist group, known as the YPG. Reports indicate that over the past two months, this conflict has claimed the lives of more than 150 individuals.
YPG, a United States allies, has expressed its intent to resolve the escalating conflict. U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Syria, Ethan Goldrich, and Maj. Gen. Joel B Vowell held talks with Arab tribal leaders and SDF (Syrian Democratic Forces) commanders. They agreed to address local grievances and work toward de-escalating violence while avoiding casualties. However, it’s worth noting that the SDF is dominated by the PKK/YPG, which utilizes the SDF to gain legitimacy in the territories it occupies in Syria.
Controversy Surrounding United States Allies and the YPG Association
The visit of U.S. officials to the region has sparked controversy, with Turkish media outlets criticizing it as “dirty cooperation” between the United States allies. Despite recognizing the PKK as a terrorist group and being a close NATO ally of Turkey, the U.S. has maintained its association with the YPG. This has raised concerns in Turkey, especially regarding the security threat posed by the YPG, which holds territory along the Turkish-Syrian border and has a history of cross-border attacks and terrorism.
Tensions flared in Deir el-Zour after the YPG “arrested” Rashid al-Khawla, a former ally of the SDF and leader of a council dominated by Arab tribes. Arab tribal leaders assert that they have been deprived of their oil wealth since the YPG took control of Syria’s largest oil wells following the defeat of Daesh. Additionally, they argue that their areas are neglected in favor of regions where the YPG recruits more heavily. Arab tribal leaders have expressed their desire to reclaim full control of Deir el-Zour.
Recent clashes have resulted in casualties among civilians, further exacerbating the volatile situation in the region. Amid these developments, Turkey has continued its counterterrorism operations in northern Syria, targeting PKK/YPG terrorists preparing attacks near the Turkish border.