The Iranian Revolutionary Guard forced National Defense Forces (NDF) that support Bashar al-Assad's government to leave a military checkpoint in Al-Mayadin east of Deir Al-Zour in eastern Syria amid tensions between the two parties, according to Al-Arabiya.
Sources said that the Revolutionary Guard took over the checkpoint and deployed their forces there in place of the NDF. The takeover of the checkpoint occurred as parts of the NDF defected and joined the Revolutionary Guards.
The NDF filed a complaint with the leadership of Assad forces in the town, but they refused to intervene in the issue.
The Revolutionary Guards are attempting to convince people in Deir Al-Zour to join them or the dozens of militias they have established in the area by offering attractive salaries, according to Al Arabiya.
A report by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights in February said that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps has made efforts to entrench its presence in the Syrian town Al-Mayadin, west of the strategically important Albukamal border crossing between Iraq and Syria, and just west of the Euphrates River.
The report described how members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards "took over the al-Nurain Mosque and houses around it on Korniche Street in the city, where they prevented civilians, members of regime forces, and NDF from entering or passing through the area, without orders from the command forces located in al-Mayadin."
Al-Mayadin is located along Highway 4, which is the only road leading out of the Albukamal border crossing, which is currently controlled by the IRGC and its allies.
From al-Mayadin, Route 4 reaches Deir al-Zor, where it connects to the M20 highway, which heads west in the direction of Damascus, or toward al-Qusayr and the Lebanese border.
"That is, the specific example of al-Mayadin shows the means by which Iran seeks to maintain exclusive control along vital nodes in Syria, for the passage of personnel and matériel, in the direction of its allies in Lebanon or its enemies in Israel, according to the needs of the moment," wrote Jonathan Spyer in a Jerusalem Post analysis in February.
Jonathan Spyer contributed to this report.