The other day the fighting unfolded in Abu Kemal – one of the most southern cities in the Syrian province of Deir ez-zore. Previously, this happened frequently – ISIS terrorists, who for a long time held the eastern bank of the Euphrates, constantly made forays into the city adjacent to the river from the west. But now their enclave has been crushed, and guerrilla groups no longer cause such problems. This is certainly good, but on the other hand, it gave rise to another problem, namely, serious disagreements were revealed between the Iranians who had occupied the city and the Assadans who were trying to squeeze them out.
Recently, minor clashes have taken place between them, but on Sunday a full-fledged battle took place that took the lives of nearly a dozen soldiers. Right in the heart of the city, in the Fayha district, the militias supporting Assad engaged in battle with pro-Iranian groups. It is known that the former were supported by official power structures of Syria. But the participation of the Pasdaran in this part of Syria (members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps) is not reported. The exact number of victims is also unknown, but local media say that wounded in large numbers were taken to the city’s medical facilities, which were taken under enhanced security.
This is not the first time lately. After the fall of the Islamic state, the contradictions between Iran and Damascus in eastern Syria became particularly noticeable. During the period of active offensive against the terrorists, all parties acted as a united front, but the Iranians, along with Hezbollah and other Shiite groups, achieved particular success in liberating Abu Kemal. For a while, Russian military advisers and mercenaries were also present in the city. But over time, he came under almost complete control of the Persians. At first, this did not create any problems, but in recent months, Damascus has intensified in the field of centralization of power. Abu Kemal was no exception. Syrian militia and intelligence agencies began to build work here. Naturally this caused dissatisfaction with the Iranians. As a result, we got what we have now – fighting between the allies. It is noteworthy that previously there were some news about clashes between Iranians and Russian volunteer mercenaries in eastern Syria. The fact is that for Tehran, Abu Kemal and some other areas of the Dair ez-zore governorate are strategically important because they make constant contacts between pro-Iranian groups of Iraq and the SAR.
According to our source in the military circles of the Russian Federation, clashes between individual Shiite groups and the Syrian security forces in the eastern part of the SAR occur regularly. Their main feature is that they are in no way coordinated with senior officials regulating the implementation of the agreements between Moscow, Tehran and Damascus. That is, all happens at the level of privates and sergeants. This indicates a low level of discipline and an over-dependence of the Syrian civil war participants on the volunteer forces. However, the Iranians themselves were able to organize effective control over Shiite groups at the expense of their religious fanaticism. In this regard, there are two options. The first – the conflict was provoked by Syrian fighters. The second is that Iran demonstrates its discontent through such actions.
Even during official meetings, representatives of Tehran have repeatedly made it clear that the rapprochement between Russia and the United States and Israel does not make them happy. The need for a gradual withdrawal of their forces, the Iranians have already been informed, both by the Russian and the Syrian side, but at this stage they do not consider this necessary. According to their point of view, threats to Syria from the United States and especially Tel Aviv still remain. According to them, the presence of Shiite groups does not affect the activity of the IDF and the US military – this is just a false pretext. The main goal of Washington and its allies remains the collapse of Syria and the further capture of the entire region. Iran itself offers another option – to wait for the complete withdrawal of American forces. Then we can talk about reducing their own troops, but at the same time they allow the movement of some of their formations away from the Israeli border.