المرصد السوري لحقوق الانسان
The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

18 days of East Euphrates battles: More than 270 ISIS and SDF fighters, intensely mine-planted tunnels hinder the rapid advancement, targeting, surprise attacks, and booby-trapped vehicles target the military positions

Deir Ezzor Province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights: the eastern banks of Euphrates River within the eastern sector of Deir Ezzor countryside, are still witnessing continuous clashes for the 18th consecutive day, since it erupted on the 10th of September of 2018, these clash are taking place between members of the “Islamic State” organization of Syrian and non-Syrian nationalities against the Syria Democratic Forces supported by the International Coalition, following an attack by the last mentioned after several weeks of large preparation in order to end the presence of ISIS completely east of Euphrates as a dominant Organization, trusted sources told the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights that both parties of the clashes are conducting different tactics in attacking and defensing; the sources confirmed that the Syria Democratic Forces adopt a simultaneous attack on more than one area, where after attacking Hajin area and achieving an advancement in the town which is the most important in the last ISIS-controlled enclave; they strengthened their positions and swept the area they controlled, and repelling the counterattacks of the organization, which are carried out by booby-trapped vehicles detonated in areas of deployment of the Syria Democratic Forces, and these operations coincide with clashes in the areas of Baghuz and Sousah, where the Syria Democratic Forces have been able to achieve advancement and control most of Baghuz area along with the adjacent area of al-Shajla, after intensive artillery and missile shelling and aerial targeting by International Coalition warplanes, which are continuously flying in the sky of the area monitoring movements of the Organization in the area.

The reliable sources also confirmed to the Syrian Observatory that forces of Deir Ezzor Military Council of the Syria Democratic Forces, are positioned in the first lines facing the “Islamic State” organization after the withdrawal of YPG and replacing them by al-Sh’aytat fighters; and then the withdrawal of the last mentioned and the position of Deir Ezzor Military Council in the area, of which the Organization intensely planted with mines, where the Organization deliberately planted laser mines that strained the advancing forces and caused significant casualties, where the sources confirmed that the mines, their sensitivity, and intensity in the last enclave of the Organization, have injured tens of fighters with varying severity and amputations, also the “Islamic State” organization is relying on the tunnel tactic, where fighters confirmed to the Syrian Observatory that they -in several repeated cases- had advanced in areas in the ISIS-enclave east of Euphrates, to be surprised by members of the organization attacking them from the back lines of SDF members who advanced in the area, where ISIS members infiltrate through tunnels to the rear lines of the Syria Democratic Forces, which constituted a state of apprehension of any advancing in the area, and increased the carefulness of the attacking forces supported by the International Coalition during any attack, also the targeting operations which is carried out by the organization is carried out through very small groups of snipers and guided shoulder-mounted missiles, targeting the Syria Democratic Forces and the advancing members and paralyzing their advancement and stopping it for as long as possible.

Also, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights obtained information from several reliable sources, that members of the “Islamic State” organization have infiltrated from the last enclave of the Organization east of Euphrates; to its west banks, where the regime forces, the Iranian forces, and their loyal gunmen are controlling the area, where they were monitored and tolerated by the International Coalition Forces who are attacking the last enclave of the Organization, while the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has documented the death of hundreds of fighters who were killed in shelling and clashes since the 10th of September 2018 until the morning of today, the 27th of the same month, where at least 98 members were killed of the Syria Democratic Forces, one of whom has served as a field commander in Deir Ezzor Military Council of the Syria Democratic Forces-, while it rose to at least 173, the number of members of the organization who were killed in these clashes, while the death toll is expected to increase due to the presence of information about other casualties as well as the presence of injured cases in serious conditions.

Also the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights documented that the majority of the organization’s members are of Asian nationalities and the organization is carrying out surprise and suicidal operations in a few numbers that does not exceed 5 members and they get active in the evening, which prompted the Syria Democratic Forces to stop their military operations at night, and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also learned that a mine sweeper belongs to the International Coalition Forces was damaged days ago as a result of the explosion of a barrel planted underground by the “Islamic State” organization; during the mine-clearing operation in the area, and the Syria Democratic Forces depend on the advancement operations during the daytime and leave their places during the nighttime or retreat for fear of counterattacks that are carried out by booby trapped vehicles and suicide bombers, and the reliable sources confirmed to the SOHR that the organization was observed bringing military reinforcements and equipment from the west of the Euphrates transporting them to its last enclave in the east of the Euphrates, while the sources confirmed that the International Coalition’s warplanes deliberately delay their strikes for fear of carrying out massacres against the citizens remained in ISIS last enclave in the east of the Euphrates.

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