The race between legitimate Syrian government forces and the US-backed SDF umbrella group to control the oil rich Deir ez-Zor province has intensified following the lifting of the blockade by Syrian troops last week and risks turning into direct confrontation

The Pentagon confirmed that US-led coalition forces will support the mainly Kurdish militia in the “Khabur River Valley offensive” as part of the advice and assist mission. The US-coalition also said that it will offer the SDF equipment, intelligence and logistics support, in addition to “precision fires and battlefield advice.”

“It’s going to be a race,” former Pentagon official Michael Maloof told RT. “It is going to be a race because you’ve got the Syrian army with Russian assistance coming in from the West and you have the United States coming in from the north and the East.”

The SDF has meanwhile promised not to attack Syrian government forces.

“We have clear instructions that after Daesh is eliminated, we should not act against the forces of the [Bashar Assad] regime or against the Russian, Iranian forces or the Hezbollah movement, which are allied with it,” SDF spokesman Talal Silo told Sputnik Monday.

As the SDF military offensive to expel IS and secure parts oil rich province continues, tribal figures aligned with SDF have already proposed measures to form their own form of government. Tribal figures on Monday called for “establishing a preparatory committee that will discuss the basis and starting points for a Civil Council for Deir ez-Zor.”

The statement published by SDF’s media office said the consultations would aim to reach a “formulation that will express the aspirations of all our people in Deir ez-Zor.” The statement, however, did not mention if the city council activities would be coordinated with the central government.

Maloof believes the US is intentionally using the Kurds to permanently entrench themselves in the oil rich Syrian province that is bordering Iraq.

“I think the US activity, their initiatives now are calculated. They are meant to try to maintain a US presence in Deir ez-Zor,” Maloof pointed out.

“Even though the Syrian army and the Russian air assistance has basically taken over the place, the United States really wants to maintain that area. They want to occupy it with the help of the Kurds.”

“I think the United States has the intentions of building a base there. The US has political and strategic intentions for that region; aimed principally at trying to maintain influence in neighboring Iraq ultimately.”

“Ultimately the Syrian army needs to reoccupy their own area, their country,” Maloof said “I think there is going to be a need for the United States and Russia to talk about this because this could create even greater conflict on who is going to ultimately occupy Deir ez-Zor and indeed that entire region.”


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