August 30, 2023
From Syria 360

Ibrahim Muhammad
On Sunday, August 27, SDF imposed a curfew in Hasakah city, cutting off main roads and carrying out raids on civilians homes in the “Nashwa – Villas” neighborhood. Many SDF members armed with various types of medium machine guns and military vehicles took part amid high security alert. SDF obligated civilians through loudspeakers to close their shops and forced them to stay in their homes without mentioning the reasons. They announced later the launching of “Strengthening Security” campaign to pursue ISIS cells in Deir Ezzor.
SDF in fact, lured “Ahmed Al-Khabil” aka “Abu Khawla”, the commander of the Deir Ezzor Military Council, to “Ain Al-Wazir” base in Al-Hasakah city for a meeting chaired by its commander, Mazloum Abdi. Abdi demanded A-Khabil, during the meeting, to submit to the orders and dictates of SDF leaders in Deir Ezzor countryside, and put an end to the rebellions carried out by the militants of the “Deir Ezzor Military Council” in the region. The meeting failed and Al-Khabil was immediately arrested along with the Council’s leaders. Other Council leaders in Hasakah city were besieged as well, two of whom are Muhammad Jabr Al-Shuaiti, Abu al-Harith Al-Shuaiti, and Abu Khawla’s brother, Jalal Al-Khabil.
Jalal Al-Khabil posted a video, explaining what happened and asking Al-Akidat tribe to rescue him and the besiege all SDF headquarters in order to force them to release the Council’s leaders, stressing that “it is not about Abu Khawla anymore, but a conflict between Arabs and Kurds.”

Everyone in the Council’s headquarters surrendered the next day around 4 am, and SDF arrested Abu Khawla’s brother, Jalal Al-Khabil later (who appeared in the video).

After Al-Khabil arrest, the “Deir Ezzor Military Council” issued a statement “Liberating Deir Ezzor from the Kurdish occupation.” The statement called on all members of the Council to fight and attack SDF positions in Deir Ezzor, and to arrest the Kurdish members. The statement also called on the Arab tribes to defend Deir Ezzor from the Kurds who want to establish their absolute control over it, calling on Deir Ezzor men who are affiliated with SDF to stage a coup and arrest their Kurdish leaders, and demanded the Arab Jabour tribes in Al-Hasakah to attack SDF forces inside the city and liberate the besieged sheikhs.

The Deir Ezzor Military Council appointed a temporary leader “Abu Laith Khasham”, pending the release of its detained leaders, who announced in a statement that he refuses to receive any orders or instructions from the leaders detained by SDF militia until they are in safety, calling on the International Coalition to step aside. While he called on all members of the Military Council and tribes to mobilize and prepare for a state of emergency.
Abu Laith Khasham

Al-Bakir clan in Al-Izba town, in Deir Ezzor countryside (a clan of al-Akkidat tribe to which Al-Khabil belongs), declared general mobilization and attacked SDF militants, arresting all of them in “Al-Zar” town. Members of the “Deir Deir Ezzor Military Council” in Deir Ezzor northern countryside targeted SDF headquarters and checkpoints belonging and blocked roads in the region.

Hundreds of fighters from Arab clans crossed the Euphrates River bank to support their fellow clans in fighting against SDF militia. Clashes expanded to include the towns of Muhaimidah, Abreha al-Husayn, al-Izba, Muaizila, the city of al-Basira, al-Sour, Jadid Akidat and the al-Ma’amel area, in which all types of medium machine guns and RPGs were used. The council arrested members of SDF and attacked its checkpoints in the towns of Abu Hammam and Gharanij in the eastern countryside.

SDF brought military reinforcements from Al-Hasakah and Raqqa and published videos of vehicles loaded with militants carrying the flags of Al-Sanadid forces from the “Shammar” tribe, which is known for its relations with the SDF and the International Coalition.

The media official of the “Sanadid Forces,” Mohsen al-Jana’a, denied their participation in the military campaign against the Military Council, or sending forces to Deir Ezzor, saying, “These videos are fabricated by the SDF to spread discord.”

On Sunday, the region’s tribal sheikhs held a meeting to discuss the incident of “Al-Khabil” arrest. Local sources reported that the tribal circles indicated that the arrest incident will have several repercussions, pointing out that this step aims to remove Al-Khabil from the security and military front in the SDF-controlled areas. Adding that this sudden incident must have been coordinated in advance between the SDF and the International Coalition. The tribes issued a statement calling the International Coalition forces to intervene to release Al-Khabil and stop the chaos in the region.

After a meeting in Deir Ezzor northern countryside, Arab tribes gave the SDF militia a 12-hour deadline to release the detainees and their families, and end the “Strengthening Security” operation in Deir Ezzor, otherwise every SDF member will be a legitimate target.

Until today Aug 29,2023, the Syrian Arab tribes in Deir Ezzor eastern countryside took control over the areas of Al-Basira, Al-Shuhail, Dhiban, Jadeed Akidat, Jadeed Bakara, Al-Sabha, after a complete withdrawal by SDF, while at least 15 have died and several others were wounded on both sides so far due to fierce clashes between SDF and Deir Ezzor Military Council.

New old quarrels

This is not the first time that the Council has clashed with SDF. On July 10, SDF sent military build-ups to the villages on the front line with the Syrian Arab Army in Deir Ezzor, and replaced points controlled by Deir Ezzor Military Council, with the Asayish (the security arm of the SDF). Al-Sanadid forces affiliated with “Bandar Al-Jarba,” the sheikh of the “Shammar” tribe took part with the SDF back then. About 20 days after this escalation, Al-Khabil appeared, in a televised interview on the Kurdish “Ronahi” channel, denying any news of a dispute between him and the SDF.

Practically, what is happening is scores settling between the two parties, but if things continue to escalate, the International Coalition will have to break its silence and stop the chaos in its areas of influence, especially with the people of the region rejecting each of the two parties and considering them an anomalous phenomenon. Although closing the crossings, cutting roads, and a semi-curfew will exacerbate the situation in the region, people want to get rid of SDF. Actually, most people categorically refuse to be ruled by the Kurds of Mount Qandil who came from northern Iraq.

The US has recently tried to create new military factions in Eastern Euphrates with the aim of striking the Syrian Arab Army and its allies in the region, but the current conflict clearly shows the result of the US failure in uniting the factions. SDF tried to take revenge on the Deir Ezzor Military Council for attempting to escape from under its cloak during negotiations with the US. However, the SDF cannot carry out the arrest without a US green light. The US still favors the SDF over any other component in the region, which angers everyone else.

SDF thought that by arresting Abu Khawla and the council’s leaders, it would eliminate any resistance and push members of the council to surrender. On the contrary, they raised tension in the region amid fears of a popular explosion, while the Kurds are calling on their leaders to resolve the battle.

Both sides are preparing and rearranging their ranks, and the region may witness a new wave of violent clashes in most areas. While the United States has obviously created this conflict, and is watching closely, waiting for the victorious party.

The Deir Ezzor Military Council is one of SDF formations and was found in 2016. Its fighters are from the “Akidat and Bakara” tribes. Its main weight concentrates in the Deir Ezzor region.