The Race For Deir Ezzor: Russian Jets Strike US-Backed Forces In Syria

One week ago we wrote that in "The Race For Deir Ezzor: US And Syrian Forces Are About To Collide", explaining that "as ISIS continues to rapidly collapse in its last two strongholds (Raqqa and Deir Ezzor cities), the competition for recovery of territory seems in full gear between the US-SDF and Syria-Russia alliances." More importantly, "Deir Ezzor province happens to be Syria's most oil-rich territory, which means the future of some of Syria's largest oil fields remains up for grabs."

Furthermore, we added that "it looks increasingly like US-backed SDF forces and the Syrian Army could be set to clash as both roll back ISIS lines from either side of the Euphrates. The SDF's surprisingly rapid advance Friday and Saturday was assisted by US and coalition airstrikes and was further made possible by the Syrian Army's weakening of ISIS defenses on the southeast side of the river. The airspace over Deir Ezzor is potentially growing even more dangerous as there are substantial rumors that the US coalition has declared a no fly zone (NFZ) over the north side of the Euphrates. In the meantime, Syrian and Russian air operations in the area will only increase with Deir Ezzor military airport's returning to full service."

One week later, that's precisely what happened, and overnight we got the first glimpse of just what this next stage of the Syria proxy war, now largely devoid of ISIS, will look like, when according to Reuters "U.S.-backed militias", which have included various and assorted Al-Qaeda offshots, spinoffs and reverse mergers, said they came under attack on Saturday from Russian jets and Syrian government forces in Deir al-Zor province.

The Syrian Democratic Forces - an alliance of Kurdish and Arab militias fighting with the U.S.-led military coalition -  said the strikes wounded six of its fighters. In a statement carried by Reuters, the SDF said that "our forces east of the Euphrates were hit with an attack from the Russian aircraft and Syrian regime forces, targeting our units in the industrial zone."

A Deir Ezzor military council fighter which fights under the SDF holds the council's flag.

And, as has been the case for years now, ISIS was used as the strawman to justify escalation on both sides. The SDF accused Damascus of trying to obstruct its battle against Islamic State. Such attacks “waste energies that should be used against terrorism ... and open the door to side conflicts,” it said. Right... terrorism. Meanwhile, the real reason for the scramble for Deir Ezzor, imposing one's influence on this key resources rich region, remains unmentioned even as assaults by the Russian-backed Syrian army and the U.S.-backed SDF have at times raised fears of clashes that could stoke tensions between the competing world powers.

With Russian and Iran-backed Syrian troops closing in from the west, while US-backed SDF forces operating mostly on the east side, the two factions have mostly stayed out of each other’s way in their "fight against ISIS" with the Euphrates acting as a dividing line.

And while talks have been under way to extend a formal demarcation line, there has been little progress on the issue. Meanwhile, as Deir Ezzor is set to fall shortly to either government or SDF forces, and any imaginary demarcation line is voided, the simmering proxy war may once again suffer an explosive breakout.

Ahmed Abu Khawla, the commander of the SDF’s Deir al-Zor military council, said Russian or Syrian fighter jets flew in from government-held territory before dawn.


The warplanes struck as the SDF waged “heated and bloody battles” in the industrial zone on the eastern bank, seizing factories from Islamic State militants, he said.


”We have requested explanations from the Russian government,“ he told Reuters. ”We have asked for explanations from the coalition ... and necessary action to stop these jets.

There was no immediate comment from the Syrian government or Moscow, and there certainly has been no comment from the US-led coalition on action to stop Russian jets. Incidentally, if anyone wants a sign from Trump that he has truly turned his back on Putin, it won't come from the confiscation of some unneeded Russian assets or confiscation of Russian diplomatic buildings in the US, but from the US launching a firm Russian counter-offensive in Syria.

Also on Saturday, a senior aide to President Bashar al-Assad said the government would fight any force, including the U.S.-backed militias, to recapture the entire country. ”I‘m not saying this will happen tomorrow ... but this is the strategic intent,” Bouthaina Shaaban said in a TV interview according to Reuters.

Ironically, The U.S.-led coalition said last week that the SDF did not plan to enter Deir Ezzor city, where Syrian troops recently broke an Islamic State siege that had lasted three years. Just a few days later, however, they appears to have changed their mind.

Meanwhile, seeking to maintain the offensive momentum, a pro-Damascus military alliance launched attacks on Saturday from the southern corner of Deir Ezzor province to drive Islamic State from the Iraqi border. The last local vestige of the Islamic State is also coming under attack by U.S.-backed Iraqi government forces just over the border from Syria’s Deir Ezzor inside Iraq.

With the fate of Deir Ezzor - and much of the oil in the region - set to be sealed in the coming days, the Syrian war which has gradually disappeared from both the front pages and the public consciouness, may make a strong comeback, especially if it is Syria/Russia/Iran that first gains control of this key regional outpost.


Mr. Universe blue51 Sat, 09/16/2017 - 23:42 Permalink

US backed SDF has been "trying" to take Raqqa from Isis for months now while the Russian backed Syrians have pretty much mopped up the rest of the country. So quickly in fact USIS is worried about losing border control with Iran. Soon enough the US will be up against it hard and have to false flag a reason to attack Syria. Will Russia back off? That is why the USIS is still pussyfooting around, they afraid of 'da Bears.

In reply to by blue51

chumbawamba Mr. Universe Sun, 09/17/2017 - 09:41 Permalink

The US is afraid the various mercenary forces comprising US regulars--in particular their own marines--will come up against Iranian Republican Guard and Hizballah warriors. They know the outcome won't be in their favor, and Americans don't want to start seeing body bags again (not that we see them anyway, but Americans will know when they're getting their asses handed to them).Go home, Americans. Your venture has failed. You lost. Tell your degenerate Saudi buddies they're on their own. Go home and try to save what's left of your sad, pathetic country, run by a demented orangutan.I am Chumbawamba.

In reply to by Mr. Universe

Broken_Trades Ima anal sphincter Sun, 09/17/2017 - 01:56 Permalink

Dear Tylers, Why no coverage on the Kurdish referendum this Sept 25th?This is massive.Big geo political implicationsIraqi parliament just signed a bill giving money and weapons to shia militia, they also just signed a bill authorizing the use of force against the Kurds.Shia militia has threatened to attack on the 23rdUS just offered a deal to Barzani to postpone the vote and he told them to go pound sand.Things abiut to kick offBT 

In reply to by Ima anal sphincter

Broken_Trades 07564111 Sun, 09/17/2017 - 03:06 Permalink

Lets see what happens.  The Flags are out, people are dancing like its a done deal.  Cant see anything major kicking off given that the US, canada, italy among others not to mention Turkey have a so much personnel and hardware in country. But on the other hand, cant see how they're going let this go ahead either. Turkey has no official position as yet, which strikes me as odd. Perhaps Barzani and erdogan have a deal.Kurds are getting smart.  They knows whose black helicopters are dropoing off supplies to isis.  They wont leave the CIA and MI6 interrogate prisoners alone anymore.BT

In reply to by 07564111

poetic justice Ima anal sphincter Sun, 09/17/2017 - 04:09 Permalink

Putin needs to DRONE the Globalists /Elites. Annilate them from the face of the earth. He can then divide up all their "ill gotten gains", AKA, spoils, amongst the good people of the world. Without it happening, there will never be peace on earth.  Come on Putin give all those mother fukers a nice barbequed breakfast. It is what they fear the most...Send the Drones /missile's to some obscure African country and launch em from there. 

In reply to by Ima anal sphincter

poetic justice eforce Mon, 09/18/2017 - 23:36 Permalink

If that is the case, we could encourage Assad or the Iranians to do likewise. I wouldn't think there would be an issue with that...We could conduct a lottery to allow various individual's the privledge to press the "fuck you all" button.List of prizes in order of status...1: Rothchilds2: Rockefellers3: SorosSoros is a third rate villain anyway.  

In reply to by eforce

natxlaw Sat, 09/16/2017 - 22:21 Permalink

Forget it. We are not going to be fighting with Russia. It ain't gonna happen. Something is disabling our boats so that a container ship can take them out. Can you just imagine it was a harpoon anti-ship missile coming instead?

cheech_wizard TheEndIsNear Sun, 09/17/2017 - 01:13 Permalink

Short Term Attention Span Theater proudly presents "A short rant on the attention span of goldfish"...To the poster that goes by the TheEndIsNear. Let me flex my fingers.You are a fucking retard. Let me repeat that until it sinks in. You are a fucking retard.And to the people that upvoted you.  They are fucking retarded as well.Ships have been colliding with other ships since fucking man first learned to sail.There have been how many U.S. Naval incidents of collisions this year? (Ah, this is where actual research comes in to play.) By my count through the various articles people have even provided here on ZH there have been what, 4? ...Can you tell me how many collisions in 2016? 2015? 1990?… about from 1945 to 1988?… Disclaimer: Sure it has happened more than once, it has happened hundreds of times. But you just go ahead demonstrating your myopic stupidity in an on-line forum. Personally, I think the Russians hacked your brain, removing whatever intellectual curiosity you may once have had and replaced it with something resembling gray matter. My guess is concrete.

In reply to by TheEndIsNear

Spaced Out cheech_wizard Sun, 09/17/2017 - 03:28 Permalink

"There have been how many U.S. Naval incidents of collisions this year? (Ah, this is where actual research comes in to play.) "There have been seven, actually (so much for your "actual"research). And take a proper look at the photos...these weren't glancing blows. The US ships were dead in the water, i.e. disabled, i.e. sittingducks.

In reply to by cheech_wizard

Mentaliusanything cheech_wizard Sun, 09/17/2017 - 05:09 Permalink

Spaniard: (background noise) This is A-853, please alter your heading 15 degrees to the south to avoid collision. You are headed straight for us, at a distance of 25 nautical miles. American: (background noise) We suggest you alter your course 15 degrees to the north to avoid collision. Spanish: Negative. Repeat, please turn 15 degrees south to avoid collision. Americans: (another voice) This is the captain of a ship of the United States of America speaking. We request that you turn 15 degrees north to avoid collision. Spanish: We do not consider that doable, nor convenient. Please turn 15 degrees to the south to avoid colliding with us. Americans: (heated tone) THIS IS CAPTAIN RICHARD JAMES HOWARD SPEAKING, IN COMMAND OF THE AIRCRAFT CARRIER USS LINCOLN OF THE UNITED STATES NAVY, THE SECOND LARGEST WARSHIP IN THE AMERICAN FLEET. WE ARE ESCORTED BY 2 GUNBOATS, 6 DESTROYERS, 5 BATTLESHIPS, 4 SUBMARINES, AND A NUMBER OF OTHER SUPPORT VESSELS. I DO NOT "SUGGEST", I "ORDER" YOU TO CHANGE YOUR HEADING 15 DEGREES TO THE NORTH. IF YOU DO NOT COMPLY, WE TAKE ALL NECESSARY MEASURES TO ENSURE THE SAFETY OF THIS VESSEL. PLEASE OBEY IMMEDIATELY AND REMOVE YOURSELVES FROM OUR COURSE!!! Spanish: This is Juan Manuel Salas Alcantara speaking. We are two people. We are escorted by our dog, food, 2 beers, and a canary that's asleep at the moment. We have the support of the radio station "Cadena Dial de La Coru" and channel 106 of the emergency maritime frequency. We aren't going to turn anywhere, seeing as we're speaking from land. We're in the lighthouse A-853 of Finisterra on the Galatian coast. We don't have the foggiest clue about where we rank in Spanish affairs. You can take whatever measures you please and do whatever the **** you want to guarantee the safety of your piece of **** vessel, that's going to crash into the rocks! So we insist, once again, and we recommend you do the most sensible thing and change your heading 15 degrees south to avoid collision. Americans: Roger, thanks.

In reply to by cheech_wizard