Pro-regime forces are helping the Arab tribes sustain their fight against the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which may facilitate the expulsion of the SDF from parts of their territory. The coalition between the SDF and Arab tribes in Deir ez Zor Province is fracturing amid clashes over long-standing grievances. The tribal insurgency explicitly aims to expel the SDF from Deir ez Zor and establish a governance system led by tribal leaders. Insurgent leader Ibrahim al Hifl said on September 14 that the insurgents aimed to manage the region through the tribes and its “uprising” will not stop until the SDF is expelled. Pro-regime forces immediately seized the opportunity to threaten the SDF by sending forces into SDF-controlled territory after the arrest of a local leader which triggered the clashes on August 27. Since then, regime forces have attempted to prolong conflict in SDF-controlled territory and even redirect grievances toward the US-led International Coalition. Pro-regime support to the tribes to prolong the conflict with the SDF supports the coordinated campaign that Iran, Russia, and the Syrian regime began forming in November 2022 to expel the United States from Syria.
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