64 months on the so-called “caliphate”: IS continues its control and operations in the Syrian “Badia” despite the death of al-Baghdadi. Information about ISIS return to “Tel Abyad”, and the sleeper cells continue to target regime forces and “SDF” • The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

64 months on the so-called “caliphate”: IS continues its control and operations in the Syrian “Badia” despite the death of al-Baghdadi. Information about ISIS return to “Tel Abyad”, and the sleeper cells continue to target regime forces and “SDF”

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights,

November 2019

Despite eight months have passed since the defeat of the Islamic State and the elimination of its so-called “Caliphate”, and nearly a week after the killing of the group’s leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the organization, which enters the 64th month of its alleged caliphate, continues to operate in the Syrian desert “al-Badia” west of the Euphrates River in areas under the control of regime forces and militias loyal to them of Syrian and non-Syrian nationalities, through continuous attacks and ambushes in the desert of Sweida, Raqqa, Deir Ezzor and Homs. According to statistics of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the organization currently controls about 4,000 square kilometers from Jabal Aburjamin area in the northeast of Palmyra, to the desert of Deir ez-Zor and its western countryside. The group is also present in the desert of El-Sukhna and in the north of the administrative border of Sweida governorate. The SOHR also monitored the continuation of the group through its sleeper cells, in its intensive activity in the area east of the Euphrates, in areas controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces, through the detonation of explosive devices and suicide attacks, in addition to assassinations with individual weapons and machine guns targeting “SDF” and its staff.

Over the past month, from the beginning of October to the end, the Syrian Observatory observed several attacks by the Islamic State (IS) on positions of regime forces and militias loyal to them in the Khor area of ​​Al-Mayadeen in the eastern Deir Ezzor countryside, where violent clashes took place between the two parties, and were accompanied by shelling and reciprocal targeting. Sources told the SOHR that a convoy of the National Defense Forces came out of the city of Mayadeen accompanied by ambulances and proceeded to transfer the wounded as a result of the clashes to “al-Salam” hospital in the city. On 26 October, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights recorded fierce clashes between various elements of the Islamic State (IS) and regime forces in the deset of al-Sukhna in eastern Homs countryside.

On October 9, the Syrian Observatory reported that ISIS operations were still going on in the Syrian Desert, where an attack was carried out by ISIS operatives on positions and a convoy of regime forces and their militias north of Sukhna in the Homs desert, where violent clashes took place between the two parties, during which the group set ambushes and detonated bombs and mines in the convoy, while the regime’s warplanes participated in repelling the attack. The Syrian Observatory documented human casualties resulting from clashes, ambushes and shelling, where at least 12 members of the regime forces and their loyal militias of Syrian and non-Syrian nationalities were killed, in addition to three ISIS operatives were killed.

At the same time, identical sources confirmed to the SOHR the return of the Emir of ammunition within the “Islamic State” in Tel Abyad, accompanied by 150 elements to the city, amid reports of the return of the “sons of Albulo” known to be associated with the “Islamic State”. A source from the town of “Selouk”, told the SOHR that the media coordinator of IS, who depicted the scenes of the throwing of victims by the group in a hot hole, has been in town, knowing that he is the cousin of the first Emir within IS in ​​Tel Abyad.

In mid-October, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that two IS operatives within the sleeper cells of the group, attacked a security point belonging to the “military council of Raqqa” in the city of Raqqa, where violent clashes broke out between the two operatives and the “military council of Raqqa”, at the point near the Basil Circle in the city. The clashes coincided with the immense use of hand grenades by the two operatives. The Syrian Observatory learned that the two deliberately blew themselves up with explosive belts after they were besieged by security guards, following clashes that lasted for more than 75 minutes, before the relative calm returned to the city amid the constant alert of the military council of Raqqa and Asayish.

The SOHR reported, on October 5, that an explosion rocked the town of Jerzi located in the countryside of eastern Deir al-Zour, caused by a landmine explosion during the passage of a military vehicle belonging to the Internal Security Forces, “Asayish,” resulting in the injury of seven elements. The Syrian Observatory published a day earlier that gunmen from the cells of the Islamic State bombed the building of the Civil Council of the Syrian Democratic Forces in al-Dahla village in the eastern countryside of Deir al-Zour after it was booby-trapped with explosive devices, without information on casualties.

The “Syrian Observatory” published, on the first of October, that an explosive device exploded on the road to “al-Omar” oil field in the countryside of Deir Ezzor, during the passage of a car carrying employees within the field, which led to the death of three employees. Sources told SOHR that the device exploded after the passage of a convoy of the Syrian Democratic Forces from the region, it seems that the target was the convoy of the “SDF”.

According to the SOHR statistics, the number of casualties has risen since late March, as the “Observatory” documented that between March 24 this year and early October, at least 265 regime forces were killed, including insurgents of Syrian and non-Syrian nationalities, including a total of at least two Russians, as well as 32 pro-Iranian militias of non-Syrian nationalities, were all killed during attacks, bombings and ambushes of the Islamic State in the western Euphrates, Deir Ezzor Desert, Homs and Sweida. The Syrian Observatory also documented the killing of 103 members of the group during the same period in attacks, shelling and targeting.

As part of the organization’s re-emergence through its cells in several areas, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights learned that ISIS masked men targeted by a hand grenade on September 29, the house of Engineer Ahmed Al-Ali (head of the maintenance department of the Water Council of the Civil Council of Deir Ezzor). This was the second of its kind in September, where the operations were aimed at pressuring the citizens to submit to the demands of the organization to pay $15 thousand as “Zakat”.

The Syrian Observatory reported on September 4 that the areas of control of the SDF and the International Coalition in eastern Euphrates are witnessing a dramatically increased activity of the Islamic State and its cells in secret and public, despite the large security campaigns of the Coalition and SDF, represented by aerial landings, raids and arrests on a daily basis and the arrest of elements of the group’s cells, but the latter continues its activities in Raqqa and its countryside, the countryside of Deir Ezzor and the city of Hasaka and its countryside and other places in the east of the Euphrates, whether through assassinations carried out by planting explosives and mines or detonating mechanisms and booby trapped devices in addition to armed attacks with machineguns. They primarily target SDF elements and collaborators, as well as civilians associated with SDF in one form or another. Not only has the group been secretly active in the area, it is now threatening publicly anyone who deals with the SDF by targeting it if it does not repent, such as leaflets that have been distributed on the mosques of “Abu Hardoub” town in the countryside of Deir Ezzor, in addition to imposing financial royalties on merchants and money owners in Deir Ezzor countryside in exchange for not being exposed to their trade and attack their oil wells and tanks.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, with the continued crimes and violations against Syrian citizens and despite threats received by its staff to be killed by the Islamic State and all killers in Syria, renews its pledge to continue its work in monitoring, documenting and publishing all violations and crimes committed against the Syrian people. Here, in the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, we reiterate our call to the UN Security Council to refer the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Syria to the International Criminal Court, so that the killers of the Syrian people will be punished with their commanders and instigators. The Syrian Observatory also pointed out that it had warned before the announcement of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant about the State of its succession in Syria and Iraq, that this organization did not aim to work for the benefit of the Syrian people, but increased the killing of Syrians and citizens, while millions of people have been displaced and killed and injured, where the Islamic State recruited children in the so-called “Cubs of the Caliphate”, and controlled the wealth of the Syrian people and harnessed to work to build the so-called “Caliphate”, through open gates back and forth with one of the Syrian neighbors. We also reiterate in the Syrian Observatory our call to the UN Security Council and all organizations and states that claim to respect human rights in the world, to act immediately to stop the crimes and violations committed against the Syrian people by the Islamic State and the regime of Bashar al-Assad and all its perpetrators. We call on them to help the Syrian people to reach a state of freedom, democracy, justice and equality, which preserves the rights of all components of the Syrian people without distinction between religions, sects and ethnicities, which were and will continue to coexist from Gel flowered future for Syria despite the media campaigns that work to destroy the social structures of the Syrian homeland.

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