RFE/RL – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (Autor)
Syrian state television said on April 29 that the villages were in territory that the Kurdish YPG militia had taken over from Islamic State (IS) militants in Deir Zor Province as part of the campaign that drove the militants out of eastern Syria.
The Syrian Army has rarely clashed with the Kurdish YPG, which is part of the Syrian Democratic Forces alliance, during the campaign against Islamic State and had kept away from their areas east of the Euphrates.
Instead Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces have focused on regaining territory from the militants to the west of the Euphrates River.
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