Over thirty people were killed in a battle between the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the Deir el-Zour Military Council (DEMC). Both the SDF and DEMC are supported by the US.
Fighting erupted between the two groups when the SDF captured the leader of the DEMC, Abu Khawla, during a meeting on Sunday. In total 32 people, including three civilians, were killed amid the clashes. Sources now report that fighting between the SDF and DEMC has ceased as Khawla has agreed to step down as the group’s leader.
On Wednesday, the SDF claimed Khawla’s detention is due to committing “multiple crimes,” including drug trafficking, and “coordination with external entities hostile to the revolution.” The statement suggests the SDF was unhappy with Khawla’s outreach to the Syrian government.
The SDF and DEMC are just two out of a multitude of militias that the US backs in Syria. The White House primarily relies on the SDF to govern the region of Eastern Syria that 900 American soldiers occupy. Washington initially seized the territory in Syria amidst the campaign against the Islamic State.
However, the IS has largely been eradicated in Syria by Bashar al-Assad along with his Shia, Iranian and Russian allies. Washington has since admitted it keeps its forces in Syria to steal resources and diminish Iranian influence in the Middle East. The policy of occupying eastern Syria has prolonged the war in the Middle East nation, intensifying the suffering of the Syrian people.