Well it seems the SAA may have decided things were going too well in #Deir_EzZor & just made a terrible new decision.

Nizar Khader remains head of the DeZ Security & Military Committee, but he has lost his role as head of the 17th Div to Moin Khaddour

Important thread below https://twitter.com/GregoryPWaters/status/1384243725447008266
2/ As @AymanDas1 noted, Khaddour's promotion came day after he finished negotiating the surrender of al-Tayy to the SDF in #Qamishli.

Khaddour had been serving as Military Commander of Hasakah since December but has commanded SAA here since before 2017 https://twitter.com/AymanDas1/status/1386964330009268225
3/ Khaddour is an Alawite from Latakia & a classically trained SAA officer. In other words, he is a yes-man for Damascus.

Recall that Nizar has roots in Deir Ez-Zor's tribes & is viewed very favorably by the locals. When Nizar came to power, local vs Damascus infighting ceased
4/ Based on discussions, it seems this new appointment was a mix of Nizar stepping aside & being pushed out.

Nizar does not like the Kurds of NES or the SDF & likely both opposed abandoning the NDF in Tayy & wanted to retain his popular support with local Arabs in the east...
5/ By stepping aside as commander of 17th Div (the main SAA force in Qamishli), Nizar is able to retain his standing as defender of the locals.

But now the once-unified command of the 17th Div & DeZ Sec & Mil Committee is broken.
6/ In theory Nizar should still have absolute control over the 17th Div (also the main SAA force in Deir Ez Zor).

But the appointment of Khaddour opens the door for a power struggle & gives Damascus a loyal puppet in control of huge #'s of soldiers & resources.
7/ Remember that last year the power struggle b/w SAA/Damascus & the local NDF in Deir Ez Zor left NDF fighters unsupported and cut off from SAA weapon caches.

#ISIS took advantage of the weakness & disarray & surged across the governorate during the second half of 2020.
8/ Security in the governorate has drastically improved in the 5 months Nizar has been in charge thanks to widespread cooperation b/w Syrian & foreign factions - largely attributed to Nizar's leadership.

In past 2 months #ISIS has been forced back to remote desert outposts here
9/ The appointment of Khaddour & implied intent by Damascus to curb Nizar's operational freedom risk reversing all of these hard fought gains.

It's possible Khaddour acts as a loyal subordinate to Nizar, but past experiences imply otherwise.
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