US-backed forces in Syria make arrests, seize armaments in new anti-ISIS operation
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) - The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) announced that they had launched a series of security operations against ISIS in Deir al-Zor and Hasakah provinces on Sunday and lasting until Wednesday.
During the campaign, an SDF statement explained, several ISIS suspects were arrested and an unspecified quantity of weapons and documents were confiscated. A photograph that accompanied the statement showed bomb-making tools and materials that had been seized as well.
“With support and air surveillance of the International Coalition against Daesh, the operations began in Jadeed Akeidat area in Deir al-Zor countryside, where our forces arrested a Daesh member active in planning operations and activities targeting the security and stability of the region,” wrote the SDF press office, using an Arabic acroynm for ISIS.
In the Shuheil area of Deir al Zor, SDF forces arrested four suspected ISIS members. The cell in Suheil, it claimed, “was responsible for manufacturing of IEDs and mines, where their weapons and equipment were confiscated.”
The Counter-Terrorism Units of the Kurdish-dominated People’s Protection Units (YPG) also arrested an ISIS "security leader" in al-Balalya village, south of Hasakah city, who was accused of assasinations in Deir al-Zor. In the countryside surrounding Deir al-Zor, special units of Internal Security Forces (Asayesh) arrested two additional ISIS suspects.
Although the SDF and the Coalition announced the territorial defeat of ISIS in Syria in March 2019, sleeper cell attacks persist, especially in recaptured territories, in what appears to be a deliberate campaign to destabilize the area.
According to the latest data from the Syria-based Rojava Information Center, ISIS carried out 42 sleeper cell attacks in May across northeast Syria, a slight increase compared to April numbers.
The majority of the attacks (29 out of 42) were carried out in Deir al-Zor province, eight in Raqqa, and the remaining five in Hasakah.
The SDF statement concluded by saying that the campaign aimed “to ensure continued security and stability in the region and to combat Daesh terrorism seeking to target civilians and security and military forces in north and eastern Syria.”
Editing by John J. Catherine