Deir al-Zor province is Daesh’s last major foothold in Syria and Iraq. AFP / George OURFALIAN
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U.S.-backed Syrian militias will not let government forces cross the Euphrates River in their bid to recover eastern Syria, setting a red line for President Bashar Assad as both sides converge on Daesh (ISIS) in Deir al-Zor, their commander said. Militia commander Abu Khawla said a civilian administration would be set up to run areas of Deir al-Zor province being captured from Daesh by his fighters, including its oil fields. The Deir al-Zor military council, fighting as part of the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, has advanced toward Deir al-Zor from the eastern side of the Euphrates River since launching an offensive into the province a week ago.The Russian- and U.S.-backed campaigns against Daesh in Syria have mostly stayed out of each other's way as the sides seek to avoid conflict, with the Euphrates often acting as a dividing line between the sides.
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