The United States and Syrian Democratic Forces conducted joint military exercises on December 7, 2021, in Deir ez-Zor, Syria, in light of the continuing threat of ISIS and the strong US commitment to engagement in the region. 

While the SDF and US have held joint exercises before, in particular in the Deir ez-Zor region, these recent exercises were notable for their use of advanced equipment. US forces extensively utilized Bradley Fighting Vehicles, first introduced in the region in October 2019, and further deployed to Syria following a Russian-American confrontation in August 2020. The SDF deployed Humvees supplied by the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS alongside the US fighting vehicles

SDF and US soldiers speaking during joint military exercises

US forces were also seen using FGM-148 Javelin launchers as part of the exercises. Javelins are infrared-guided missile launchers that are designed to be used against tanks, and Coalition forces have been seen using them against ISIS during the Deir ez-Zor Campaign in support of the SDF.

A US Bradley Fighting Vehicle fires a missile during joint US-SDF exercises in Deir-ez-Zor

The exercises have taken place during a period of strong US involvement in Syria. Joint patrols and anti-ISIS operations have been occurring regularly. Simultaneously, ISIS activity has continued, especially in the area around al-Busayrah in Deir ez-Zor. A cell of five ISIS fighters, the members of whom were reportedly wearing explosive belts, was eliminated by the SDF with air support from the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS on December 13, 2021.