Middle East News

SDF agrees to deconflict operations with Syrian regime around Deir ez-Zor

The SDF and the Syrian regime have agreed to deconflict counter-ISIS operations in the area around Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor, a US-led Coalition spokesperson told Grasswire

The Syrian Democratic Forces and Syrian regime have agreed to deconflict operations on the ground in the area around Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor, a spokesperson for the US-led Coalition told Grasswire.

On Monday, July 17, the Pentagon said the SDF used an established US-Russian communications channel to reach the agreement with the Syrian military.

“They do have an agreed upon deconfliction mechanism now … This deconfliction line was agreed by SDF, coalition and the Syrian regime via the Russian line of communication,” Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said at a press briefing.

The Coalition on Tuesday gave Grasswire details of the deconfliction line:

“The de-confliction line runs in an irregular arc from a point southwest of Tabqah east to a point on the Euphrates River. The line was agreed on by the SDF, Coalition, Syrian regime and Russians. The purpose of the line is to de-conflict Syrian regime operations and SDF and Coalition counter-ISIS operations.”

CJTF-OIR spokesperson

The agreement comes as pro-regime forces continue to move along the west bank of Lake Assad in the direction of Deir ez-Zor. Davis noted that Coalition-backed SDF came into contact with government troops south of the Tabqa dam, but the problem was quickly resolved through the deconfliction channel with Russia.

“It’s been a couple of weeks that we have been actively talking via the Russian deconfliction line on this,” Davis said.

The US-Russia deconfliction mechanism was temporarily suspended last month following the US shooting down of a Syrian Su-22 jet near Raqqa on June 18. In response to the incident, Russia said it would track, target and intercept Coalition aircraft in Syria.

US shoots down a Syrian military jet near Raqqa

In May, US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford said Washington and Moscow were working on a new deconfliction proposal for Syria that would include the area near Deir ez-Zor.

Col. John Dorrian, then the Coalition spokesperson, said in March that Deir ez-Zor could become the next target of counter-ISIS operations after the liberation of Raqqa.

Abu Yacoub, political advisor to the Free Syrian Army, said on July 3 that the Coalition was seeking to establish a fire base in al-Shaddadi to assist the FSA-linked Maghawir al-Thawra group in its advance to Deir ez-Zor. The base was expected to house up to 150 people.

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