Russia and USA in the race for oil fields
DEIR EZ-ZOR, Syria (September 14, 2017) –The race between the Russia-backed Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to control the oil-rich province of Deir ez-Zor is intensifying. There is the danger of a direct confrontation between SDF and SAA.
On Tuesday of the previous week, the Syrian Arab Army, with Russian air support, was able to blow up the three-year siege ring on Deir Ez-Zor. On Saturday, the troops of SAA also succeeded in breaking out of the encirclement of the military airport, which served as the lifeline of the encircled city.
Immediately after this strategic victory of the government troops against the IS, the US-backed SDF announced its own offensive to the center of Syrian oil production in the east of the city. Deir ez-Zor is only 140 kilometres south-east of Rakka, where the US led coalition is conducting its main offensive against the IS.
The US Department of Defense also confirmed that the US-led coalition will further on support the Kurdish-led SDF with equipment, intelligence and logistical support, as well as “precision fire and military advisors”.
Colonel Ryan Dillon, spokesman for the US coalition, explained on Sunday that the SDF has achieved “significant gains in terrain in the Khabur Valley” and has already controlled 250 square kilometres since Operation “Jazeera Storm” began.
SDF and Syrian Arab Army trying to block each other
The Khabur River is the longest tributary of the Euphrates in Syria and flows south of Deir ez-Zor into the main river. SDF forces are only a few kilometres away from Deir ez-Zor. They have already conquered the base of the 113th Brigade and parts of the Al-Salihiyah district.
Meanwhile, the Syrian Arab Army successfully pushed forward against the remaining IS fighters in the west of the city near the airport.