DEIR EZ-ZOR, Syria – In Syria’s eastern oil-rich Deir ez-Zor province, where ISIS is putting up a last stand in the middle Euphrates River valley area on the border with Iraq, forces from the SDF and those loyal to the regime in Damascus compete for territory.
“All the oilfields are here. This place is very rich, which is why they want this area. They wouldn’t come here if there was no oil here because they don’t care about the people,” SDF commander Abu Arab told Rudaw.
The centre of Deir ez-Zor is controlled by Syrian government forces. The surrounding areas that are home to oilfields are under the control of the SDF.
ISIS militants still have access to several routes where they can cross back and forth between Iraq and Syria.
It is a dangerous area.
The SDF have formed a special force of 250 local Arabs to protect the oil fields and newly liberated areas.