Syrian Democratic Forces detained 110 terror suspects in anti-Islamic State campaign
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The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on Wednesday announced the arrest of 110 so-called Islamic State terrorists during the first phase of the Deterring Terrorism campaign near the Syrian-Iraqi border.
The Deterring Terrorism campaign began on June 4, 2020.
The operation covers the southern countryside of Hasakah in the Dashisha area adjacent to the Iraqi border and extends to the border of the Baghouz region in line with the Euphrates and the Khabour River in the countryside of Deir al-Zor.
The first phase ended on June 10, Deir al-Zor Military Council spokesperson Lelwah Abdullah said in a press conference on Wednesday on behalf of the SDF.
Abdullah said the campaign was conducted “in military coordination between our forces and the Iraqi government and with the participation of the Coalition forces.”
The operation is meant “to secure the border areas, maintain civil peace, and secure the lives of people from the attacks of ISIS cells,” the spokesperson added, noting that the terror group has “intensified its activity recently.”
“Our forces have covered nearly 175 kilometers in length and 60 kilometers in width, which included over 150 villages and farms.”
In total, the SDF raided 65 locations and arrested 110 suspects.
“Our forces also seized large quantities of various weapons, including pistols with silencers, and seized quantities of materials that make explosives, and large quantities of homemade explosives,” she added.
Col. Myles B. Caggins III, the official spokesman for Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR), the US-led Coalition against the so-called Islamic State, told Kurdistan 24 the Coalition supported the campaign with “technical advice and eyes-in-the-sky.”
“The valiant female and male SDF fighters are crisscrossing the countryside from Hasakah to the Syria-Iraq border to crush ISIS remnants. This big mission requires great leadership, logistics, and training,” he said.
Despite the SDF and the US-led Coalition announcing the Islamic State’s defeat in Syria in March 2019, the terror group’s activity persists in areas the Kurdish-led forces previously liberated.
A Rojava Information Centre (RIC) and open source researcher who goes by the name Caki monitors sleeper cell activity in SDF areas. He told Kurdistan 24 the operation was a response to increased Islamic State activity in the region, including the taxing of farmers and businessmen in Deir al-Zor, and assassination attempts against locals working with the SDF or the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES).
“Sleeper cells live either among villages along the Khabour (river), but they are mostly observers and supporters who give information to ISIS,” he stated. “ISIS then, in response, carries out home assassinations on local Mukhtar (mayor), Council members, and anyone working for the administration.”
The Islamic State has also distributed “leaflets warning anyone who works with the administration will be a target,” Caki said.
“This is the reason an operation was launched from east of Khabour into the desert along the Iraqi border where most ISIS cells live and come in from.”
During the SDF campaign, the Islamic State carried out a couple of failed attacks in the Hasakah province, including one in Hasakah city, and “a few days ago in Qamishli when a suicide bomber killed himself.”
However, Caki underlined there has been a recent decrease in Islamic State sleeper cell activities due to the increase of joint SDF-Coalition operations.
Source: Kurdistan 24