Several activists and locals from Deir Ezzor persist that the SDF are using Abu Khawla, commander of the self-proclaimed Deir Ezzor Military Council, as a means to justify their invasion of Deir Ezzor province in the coming future. Abu Khawla is notorious for looting civilian belongings and committing atrocities in the province. In addition, he has no relationship with the FSA.
When the FSA gained control over some areas in the countryside from the Assad regime, Abu Khawla formed some criminal groups who would loot civilian properties in those areas, taking advantage of the FSA being busy with the battles that were raging in multiple areas at that time.
Abu Khawla and his groups delivered intelligence data about the FSA to the regime-operated Brigade 113, and they helped many fighters linked with the brigade to escape. After the liberation of the brigade, Abu Khawla moved to the Hasakah/Deir Ezzor highway where he operated a checkpoint in order to cut off Daesh supply lines. However, his manpower were killed by the group, along with his brother Mohamed Rahab who had welcomed the occupation of the province by Assad’s forces before.
After that, they announced their support for the organization before the latter advanced into the province. Then, the organization arrested his brother, Ata Allah, who was caught posing as a Daesh fighter and looting civilian properties, and executed him in the Balu’m roundabout. Therefore, Ahmed Hamed Khabil fled for his life to Al-Hasakah from which he moved to Turkey. He had lived in Turkey’s Tel Abyad for months before returning to Syria to appear as the commander of the SDF-linked Deir Ezzor’s Military Council.