SDF says it foiled ISIS attacks in Syria planned for post-Ramadan holiday
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on Thursday announced they had prevented a massive wave of attacks planned for the upcoming post-Ramadan Eid holiday by arresting a sleeper cell on Sunday in Syria’s eastern Deir al-Zor province.
“On May 17, the anti-terror forces carried out a specific operation against an ISIS assassination cell, they were preparing to attack and carry out operations,” the SDF said in a public statement.
The SDF said it had arrested the Islamic State suspects named as Muhammad Hamad al-Salem (known as Abu Ibrahim al-Khalaf), Abd al-Baqi Aqla al-Jasim (Abu Amir), and Ibrahim Hilo al-Ibrahimi (Abu Khalil).
The Kurdish-led forces seized a large amount of weapons, including 10 mines, a motorcycle fitted with explosives, a car bomb, 27 handguns, 10 kilograms of TNT, and other equipment used in preparation for bombing attacks.
“With this specific operation the terrorist operation was blocked since the car bomb was seized which was equipped for a major operation.”
The SDF said the cell leader Abu Ibrahim was receiving instructions from a militant in the Turkish-controlled town of Ras al-Ain (Serekaniye) to conduct several “terrorist operations in several towns to target civilians during the Eid holidays.”
Recently, SDF anti-terror forces carried out a large number of operations against Islamic State sleeper cells in Deir al-Zor province.
On Wednesday, the group announced it had carried out several operations in which several ISIS fighters were killed and captured between May 11 and 17 in the province’s towns and villages, including al-Busayrah, al-Shuhayl, and Dashisha.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) the US-led coalition carried out at least three airdrop operations in support of SDF forces.
The Deir ar-Zor Media Centre on Thursday also reported that an SDF operation in al-Shuhayl was carried out with the support of the Coalition.
Despite the SDF and the US-led coalition announcing the Islamic State’s defeat in Syria in March 2019 at Baghouz, the terror group’s sleeper cell attacks persist in areas the Kurdish-led forces previously liberated.
Robin Fleming, a Syria-based researcher at the Rojava Information Center, earlier told Kurdistan 24 that most of the SDF and Coalition operations are in Deir al-Zor because “subsequent to the fall of Baghouz, Deir al-Zor has seen the majority of sleeper-cell attacks.”
“But the increased focus on Deir al-Zor could also be due to the fact ISIS was seen distributing flyers threatening individuals connected on any level to the SDF or AANES (Autonomous Administration of North and East of Syria).”
Despite the large-scale operations by the SDF, Islamic State fighters have continued attacks in the province against them.
On Thursday, three people, including one child, were killed by two motorcycle bombs in a market in Al-Busayrah city, east of Deir al-Zor, reported the news website DeirezZor 24. At least nine more were injured in the attack.