SDF arrest four ISIS members in rare raid in eastern Syria’s Deir al-Zor

ISIS still maintains "a low-level insurgency in Iraq and Syria and could still pose a terrorist threat in both countries and across the globe."

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – In a special operation supported by the US-led Coalition, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on Sunday arrested four suspected Islamic State fighters in rural Deir al-Zor province.

"In a joint operation, our special forces and the international coalition forces raided today an ISIS cell in Albusayrah, Deir Ezzor countryside," the SDF Media Centre said in a statement.

"During the operation, four terrorists were arrested and large quantities of ammunition were seized."

According to the pro-SDF Deir al-Zor Media Centre the operation was carried out by Anti-Terror Forces (HAT), affiliated to the Internal Security Forces, also known as Asayish.

The sleeper cell group was allegedly responsible for carrying out assassinations targeting tribal leaders and civilians working with the local Autonomous Administration of North and East of Syria (AANES) in the area around al-Busayrah. The suspects' tactic was drive-by shootings on motorcycles.

On Friday, Col. Wayne Marotto, the Spokesman for the US-led Coalition, wrote on Twitter that Iraqi and Syrian partners carried out "15 operations against Daesh (ISIS), preventing 12 leaders & 22 henchmen from committing acts of terror."

Although the SDF and Coalition announced the Islamic State’s territorial defeat in Syria on March 23, 2019, in Baghouz, the terror group’s sleeper cell attacks persist in areas liberated from their brutal rule.

“Despite the increase in raids and arrests, attacks in Deir-ez-Zor continue at a steady pace with 43 attacks in August and 44 in September,” the Syria-based Rojava Information Center (RIC) said in its monthly report released on October 8 compiling Islamic State attacks and raids launched against the group’s militants by the SDF.

In response, the SDF and the US-led Coalition have carried out several operations against the terrorist organization.

The Islamic State reportedly continues to threaten local civilians and has assassinated several officials, tribal leaders, and council members linked to the SDF and local Kurdish-led administrations.

Along with the Islamic State threat, Syrian regime forces and Turkish-backed militias continue their activities in SDF-controlled areas.

Last week, the Pentagon’s Inspector General (IG) issued a report that suggested that the Coalition assesses that ISIS still maintains "a low-level insurgency in Iraq and Syria and could still pose a terrorist threat in both countries and across the globe."

"While the organization has been defeated territorially and its leadership degraded, supporters in both countries continue to seek to regain territory and to endorse violence abroad," the Coalition said.

In August, a UN Secretary-General report estimated that more than 10,000 ISIS fighters remained active in Iraq and Syria, operating in small cells that move freely across the Iraq-Syria border.

Editing by Khrush Najari