Military towers define SDF borders along the Euphrates River

A concrete base for one of the towers that SDF is building near al-Sabha town, east of Deir Ezzor - January 18, 2024 (Enab Baladi)

A concrete base for one of the towers that SDF is building near al-Sabha town, east of Deir Ezzor - January 18, 2024 (Enab Baladi)

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The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) has launched a project to build new military checkpoints in the form of towers ranging from eight to 15 meters high along the Euphrates River, starting from al-Jazrat town west of Deir Ezzor to al-Baghouz in the far eastern countryside of the province.

The SDF began the heavy military deployment on the Euphrates bank in mid-2023 following armed attacks by local Arab tribes against their forces in Deir Ezzor, accusing the regime of supporting the tribe’s fighters in the area.

This was followed by an escalation between the United States and Iran in the region, manifested in targeting militias that the United States accuses of being affiliated with Iran, which operate from areas under Syrian regime control and occasionally from adjacent Iraqi territories.

What is the objective?

In the village of Jadid Bakara, the SDF started building the first military checkpoint in the form of a concrete tower, planned and supervised by the International Coalition Forces (ICF) led by the United States in Syria and Iraq.

The SDF intends to complete the construction of these military points, some of which will be connected by tunnels, according to information obtained by Enab Baladi from military sources in the SDF related to the project.

Enab Baladi also obtained information from an official in the al-Majbal area, which was built by the SDF near the International Coalition base in the al-Omar oil field, responsible for building these points. The official mentioned that supervision of their construction was assigned to construction contractors from outside Deir Ezzor province, based on contracts they signed with the SDF.

The official, whose name Enab Baladi withheld for security reasons, added that the points are still under construction and extend from Jadid Bakara village to al-Basira and al-Shaitat region east of Deir Ezzor.

An official in the SDF Military Construction Department (name withheld for security reasons) told Enab Baladi’s correspondent in Deir Ezzor that the project “is somewhat like planning the borders (of the Autonomous Administration) from the side of Deir Ezzor” as a first step and the SDF will work on similar plans in other cities like Raqqa and Manbij.

He added that the surveillance system through the towers would provide “protection” for the area as the SDF would deploy in each town three towers reinforced with surveillance cameras, which reveal large geographical expanses, and are supervised by the Special Units (commandos) aiming for security control of the area.

The new security moves come as an attempt by the SDF to control the cells that strike the existing military points in Deir Ezzor countryside, originating from areas under Syrian regime control, according to the source, who indicated that work is currently focused in the eastern countryside of the province, then will move towards the western countryside of Deir Ezzor.

An official at the Internal Security center (Asayish) in the city of al-Basira, east of Deir Ezzor, told Enab Baladi that the general command of Asayish gave an order to build an armed wall one kilometer long, in addition to four surveillance towers enhanced with surveillance cameras that reveal wide expanses reaching to the city of al-Shuhail eastward, and the towns of Abriha and al-Sabha west of al-Basira.

Extension of a previous project

Since November 2023, the SDF has started the establishment of military points on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River, opposite the areas controlled by the Syrian regime in eastern Deir Ezzor province, coinciding with an increase in attacks that the SDF said were supported by the regime and coming from its controlled areas.

Naher Media, a website specialized in the news of Deir Ezzor, said at the time that the SDF launched a project aimed at deploying military points between al-Jazrat town west of Deir Ezzor and al-Baghouz in the far east of the province.

He added that preparations were observed in the area for the establishment of three “mixers” (places specialized for manufacturing concrete) to begin producing prefabricated rooms in preparation for deploying military points.

 

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