Syrian army sends more troops across Euphrates, near US-backed forces

Cheryl Sanders
September 19, 2017

"If there are clashes between us and them - we're ready for those if the forces of the regime don't go back to the other bank", Ahmed Abu Khawla of the SDF's Deir al-Zor military council said.

"Coalition officials are available and the de-confliction line with Russian Federation is open 24 hours per day", Coalition commander Lt. Gen. Paul E. Funk said in a statement following Saturday's strike. On Monday, elite Syrian troops crossed the river, Russia's defence ministry said.

Meanwhile, the Observatory said Syrian reconnaissance forces, backed by Russian air forces, had reached the eastern bank of Euphrates River in Deir al-Zour.

Two planes landed and took off from the base on Monday, state TV reported - the first such activity there since September 2016, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said.

"Today, Syrian government forces, reinforced by a unit of the 4th Armoured Division and with the support of Russian aviation, crossed the Euphrates River in the Deir Ezzor region", the ministry said in a statement.

The convergence of the Syrian army offensive from the west and the SDF operation from the east has led to increased tensions.

"Even if the pro-government [forces] keep up their advance in the city, it will mean nothing if they don't control the eastern bank", Abdurrahman said.

Dillon's tweet is clearly in reference to the Pentagon's claim that Russian airstrikes targeted the USA -backed, Kurdish-led SDF in Deir Ezzor east of the Euphrates River.

The Sept. 6 report faulted USA forces for not taking all steps to protect civilians, but alleged "war crimes" by Syrian and/or Russian forces for "deliberately" attacking medical personnel.

The SDF has captured more than 500-square kilometres in northeastern parts of the province, according to the US-led coalition that is providing air cover.

The SDF, dominated by the Kurdish YPG militia, controls much of Syria's northeast.

That line runs from the neighbouring province of Raqa southeast along the Euphrates River to Deir Ezzor.

Russian forces struck a target east of the Euphrates River in #Syria near Dayr Az Zawr, causing injuries to Coalition partner forces.

Earlier in the day, a military source told Xinhua that the air base of Deir al-Zour had resumed operation on Monday amid major progress by the Syrian army and its allies.

The Syrian government estimates about 70,000 people have survived on erratic air drops of food and supplies during the siege.

The crossing came almost two weeks after the Russia-backed Syrian troops breached a three-year siege on their troops in the city.

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