Syrian Democratic Forces continue with anti-Islamic State raids in northeastern Syria
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The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) with support from the US-led coalition carried out security operations against the so-called Islamic State in the Deir al-Zor province for two consecutive days over the weekend.
The SDF’s Coordination and Military Operations Centre said in a statement on Monday that the operations “against several ISIS cells” in eastern Deir al-Zor were part of ongoing efforts to combat terrorism.
The operation resulted in “the arrest of several cell’s elements and leaders” as well as the seizure of military equipment and weapons, it added.
Meanwhile, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that the raid targeted Islamic State suspects in the Al-Shuhayl town, east of Deir al-Zor.
Col. Myles B. Caggins III, Spokesman for the US-led Coalition, formally known as Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Resolve (CJTF-OIR), confirmed the operation on Twitter.
“An operation was conducted by the SDF, with Coalition support, in Deir al-Zor province, Syria, May 18. The SDF and Coalition forces targeted ISIS fighters responsible for facilitating terrorist activities in the region. One ISIS terrorist was killed during the operation, ” he told Kurdistan 24.
Islamic State suspects were also arrested during the raid, the spokesman added.
The Coordination Centre also announced that special units backed by the US-led coalition carried out security operations on Sunday in Al-Busayrah, a town in eastern Syria, administratively part of the Deir al-Zor governorate.
“A number of cell members were arrested, while two Iraqi nationals blew themselves up,” the SDF’s coordination centre added.
During the operation, the SDF found explosive belts, weapons, and other equipment.
According to an SOHR report, the two men who were killed during the fight were alleged Islamic State commanders.
Despite the SDF and the US-led coalition announcing the Islamic State’s defeat on March 23 in Baghouz, the terror group’s sleeper cell attacks persist in areas the Kurdish-led forces had liberated.
Robin Fleming, a Syria-based researcher at the Rojava Information Center, told Kurdistan 24 that most of the SDF and the coalition’s operations are in Deir al-Zor because “subsequent to the fall of Baghouz, Deir al-Zor has seen the majority of sleeper-cell attacks.”
“But the increased focus on Deir al-Zor could also be due to the fact ISIS was seen distributing flyers threatening individuals connected on any level to the SDF or AANES (Autonomous Administration of North and East of Syria).”
The Islamic State has carried out assassination attacks against officials and council members linked to the SDF and the local administration in the past and has threatened local civilians.
According to an SOHR report on Monday, one SDF fighter was killed by an IED explosion in his vehicle in the Shenan village, located in the eastern countryside of Deir al-Zor.
On Sunday, another former SDF fighter was killed by an unidentified gunman in the Hawayij village, also located in Deir al-Zor, SOHR said.
United Nations Special Envoy for Syria, Geir O. Pedersen, told the UN Security Council on Monday that “further incidents” point “to an [ISIS] resurgence in the eastern desert” of Deir al-Zor.
Source: Kurdistan 24