Monday the Syrian army crossed over to the left bank of the Euphrates at Deir Ezzor despite warning by some SDF commnaders that they would “not allow” such a thing to take place.
Luckily no direct clashes between the US-backed SDF and the Russian-backed Syrian army took place when this happened, but the Russian Ministry of Defense now claims that within hours of crossing over the Euphrates was flooded:
“As soon as the Syrian government troops began to cross the river, water level in the Euphrates rose within hours and the current velocity nearly doubled to two meters per second.”
Since there have been no rains, the only source of such changes in the water situation is man-induced water discharge at dams upstream the Euphrates.These facilities are held by opposition groups controlled by the US-led coalition”
The Russians are refering to the giant Tabqa dam which the Kurdish-dominated SDF captured from ISIS after a US-orchestrated campaign in May. The Russians are saying the Americans and the Kurds opened the floodgates to try and obstruct the Syrian army expanding its bridgehead against ISIS on the river’s left bank.
The Russians are also complaining that ISIS is able to counter-attack against the Syrian bridgehead despite US-SDF forces being just next to them:
“According to the reports that the Syrian commanders have been sending from the frontline, most serious counter-attacks and mass shelling on the Syrian troops come from the north.”
“It is the area where units of the Syrian Democratic Forces, as well as the US special operations units, are deployed.”
That is to say the Russians are accusing the Americans and the SDF of winding down their fight against ISIS to allow them to offer stiffer resistance against key Syrian army position.
What is really happening on the ground is anyone’s guess, but recriminations between the two camps do not bode well for the future. Last week similarly the US accused Russia of bombing SDF positions and wounding Kurdish fighters and endangering American special forces soldiers.
The Russian military for its part has now invited the US to stop all its offensive operations in Syria:
“The closer the end of the ISIS in Syria, the more clear it is who is really fighting with the ISIS and who has been imitating this fight for three years. So, if the US-led international coalition does not want to fight against terrorism in Syria, let it just be out of the way of those who are doing it continuously and effectively.”