SDF arrests three ISIS sleeper agents in Deir al-Zor
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on Saturday announced that they arrested three members of an Islamic State sleeper cell in Deir al-Zor province.
The SDF special forces operation in the eastern Deir al-Zor countryside captured three suspected terrorists in two cells of the so-called Islamic State in al-Shahil and al-Tayiana, said the SDF’s Coordination and Military Operations Centre on Twitter. They also “confiscated” their weapons and equipment.
A new security operation for our special units in the eastern countryside of #Deir_Ezzor, led to arrest 3 members in two cells of #ISIS terrorest organisation in #Al_Shahil and #Al_Tayiana, weapons and equipments were confiscated. pic.twitter.com/DdAnoFrqKr— Coordination & Military Ops Center - SDF (@cmoc_sdf) December 12, 2020
“The fight against Daesh continues to root out Daesh cells and networks to maintain peace and security in liberated areas in Northeast Syria,” Coalition spokesperson Col. Wayne Marotto told Kurdistan 24 on Saturday. “The SDF is instrumental in the defeat Daesh mission and the CJTFOIR (US-led Coalition) is committed to partnering with them.”
Although the SDF and US-led anti-Islamic State Coalition announced the territorial defeat of the Islamic State in Syria in March 2019, sleeper cell attacks by the group persist in liberated territories in what appears to be a deliberate campaign to destabilize the area.
Major General Kevin Copsey, Deputy Commander of the Coalition in Iraq and Syria, told Kurdistan 24 in a visit to Syria in November, that the Islamic State “has been degraded to a criminal organization. It’s all about theft, kidnapping, and extortion. They are in a survival mode now.”
“They hide out in rural areas and caves,” the commander continued. “They get targeted all the time by the various security apparatus both in northeast Syria and Iraq.”
According to a monthly report of the Rojava Information Center (RIC) published on Monday, November saw the lowest number of sleeper-cell attacks since records began since the 2019 destruction of the extremist group’s so-called Caliphate.
The SDF has continued campaigns against remaining cells in northeastern Syria to prevent a resurgence of Islamic State militants.
The RIC said the “majority of raids took place in Deir-ez-Zor with 9 raids, Heseke with 4 raids, Manbij with 2 and Raqqa with 1. No raids were documented in Hol Camp this month.”
Last week the SDF also arrested four ISIS suspects during an operation in the town of Tal Hamis, located outside of Qamishli in northern Hasakah province.
“4 ISIS terrorists have been captured in a targeted operation by counterterrorism forces on December 6. SDF is committed to work hard to weed out ISIS sleeper cells and target their hideouts across northern Syria,” the SDF’s Department of Media and Information wrote in a tweet last week.
Editing by Khrush Najari