DEIR AL-ZOR, Syria (Kurdistan 24) – The US-backed Syrian Kurdish-Arab alliance forces on Thursday said hundreds of Arab fighters from Deir Al-Zor province joined their forces in north and east Syria.
The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), of which the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) is the leading component, said in an online statement about 700 fighters joined their forces in the Deir-Al-Zor countryside north of the Euphrates River.
“The graduation ceremony of about 700 fighters from the Arab component in the town of Al-Kasrat was attended by SDF commanders and the tribal elders and sheikhs in the region,” the statement read.
A US-led international coalition against Islamic State (IS) has given military support to the SDF, which now controls nearly a quarter of Syria after liberating most of the Deir Al-Zor countryside north of the Euphrates River and Raqqa city in October.
Apart from the SDF, the Kurdish YPG supported by the US-led coalition supervised the graduation of hundreds of security elements near Raqqa.
After the liberation of the former IS capital, several officials from the Syrian regime, including President Bashar Al-Assad, stated they would never surrender the areas liberated by the SDF.
The SDF has focused on territory east of the Euphrates where Syria’s largest oil fields, Al-Omar and Al-Jafra, have been under their control for a few months now.
Responding to regimes threats, an SDF senior official, Polat Jan, during the graduation ceremony said, “We do not accept the repressive Syrian regime regaining control over the areas liberated by the blood and sacrifices of the people of these lands.”
Last month, President Assad called the Kurdish units and their affiliates battling the jihadist group "traitors" for having allied themselves with the United States.
"All those who work under the command of any foreign country in their own country and against their army and people are traitors, quite simply, regardless of their names, and that is our evaluation of the groups that work for the Americans in Syria,” Assad said.
Although Assad did not name any group, his remarks appeared to target the Kurdish YPG and its multi-ethnic surrogate, the SDF, that the US-led coalition to counter IS view as their most effective and trusted partners on the ground.
Editing by Nadia Riva