In this July 22, 2017 file photo, an Arab fighter, left, and Kurdish fighter, right, who fight together with the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), hold their weapons as they prepare to move to the front line to battle against the Daesh terrorist group militants, in Raqqa, northeast Syria. US-backed Syrian fighters are preparing to launch an offensive against the Daesh in eastern Syria along the border with Iraq in a race with government forces who are marching in the same direction in a crushing assault against the extremists in their last major holdout in Syria. (HUSSEIN MALLA, FILE/ASSOCIATED PRESS)
The dueling battles for Deir ez-Zor highlight the importance of the oil-rich eastern province, which has become the latest epicenter of the international war against the Daesh, raising concerns of an eventual clash between the two sides, washingtonpost.com reported.
The race to reach the Iraqi border will also shape future regional dynamics, determining whether the United States or Russia and Iran will have more influence in the strategic area once the extremist group is defeated.
Iran has been one of President Bashar Assad’s strongest backers since the crisis began in March 2011 and has sent thousands of fighters and advisers to fight against Daesh group.