76 months of International Coalition operations in Syria | Large reinforcement of 250 trucks enter Syria, and ongoing security campaigns with SDF result in the arrest and killing of 55 people
Completing the 76th consecutive month of military operations against the “Islamic State” in Syria, the International Coalition continues sending in military reinforcement to SDF-held areas, carrying out raids, arrests and various security operations in several areas controlled by SDF. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, in turn, tracked and monitored all operations and movement of the International Coalition during the last month.
Substantial military and logistical reinforcement
The International Coalition continues to send in reinforcement to its bases in north-eastern Syria. In the last month, the Syrian Observatory monitored the entry of 240 trucks and vehicles carrying logistical and military equipment, via the Kurdistan Region of Iraq in seven batches to the bases of the International Coalition in Tel Baydar and Rmilan and other bases in al-Hasakah, Koniko and Al-Omar in Deir ez-Zor countryside.
The first batch entered on December 23, the second on January 4, the third on the seventh of this month, the fourth on the tenth of this month, and the fifth entered on the 16th, and the sixth on the 19th of the month, while the latter entered on the 20th of the same month.
Ongoing support for SDF and participation in security campaigns
Over the last four weeks, SOHR monitored the International Coalition participating in seven joint security operations with the SDF in Deir ez-Zor and Al-Hasakah, through security crackdowns and air drops which resulted in the arrest of 52 people in the village of Al-Falaha in eastern countryside of Hasaka, al-Shuhayl and Zar, Abu al-Nitel, Abreeha, Al-Baghuz and north-east of Deir ez-Zor desert.
Moreover, the Coalition managed to kill three ISIS members in airstrike on a hut in Sohat Al-Bufirio in the north-eastern desert of Deir ez-Zor. One of the dead hails from the village of Hawaij Dhiban, while the other two are believed to be of Iraqi nationalities.
On January 15, the International Coalition forces and SDF conducted military exercises near the Koniko gas field, east of Deir ez-Zor.
On January 5, reliable SOHR sources confirmed that reports circulated on regime media outlets on transporting nearly 60 ISIS prisoners by US forces from Al-Hasakah to Al-Tanaf base in the Syrian desert, were completely untrue.
According to SOHR sources, the International Coalition periodically transports ISIS prisoners to Iraq, not to Al-Tanaf base as regime media claimed, while the number of those ISIS prisoners transported to Iraq has not exceeded ten. Furthermore, the transport of ISIS prisoners to Iraq was coordinated with the north-eastern Syria region’s administration. It is worth noting that the prisoners, who have been transported to Iraq, have not been tried, and it is not known yet if they are International Coalition’s agents or wanted members of US forces. It is also worth noting that these prisoners included Syrian members.
Abductees forgotten by Coalition and SDF
22 months have passed since the International Coalition’s official declaration of the elimination of Islamic State as a dominating force over east of the Euphrates River. Despite all the developments that took place over the past month, the Coalition and SDF’s silence continues regarding ISIS abductees. No details on the fate of thousands of abductees are provided; and no information about the results of the interrogations of ISIS member is available, as thousands are held by SDF and the Coalition, east of the Euphrates.
Concerns about the abductees’ lives and fate are growing, including the fate of father Paulo Dall’Oglio, Bishop John Ibrahim, Paul Yaziji, Abdullah al-Khalil, a British journalist, Sky News journalist, and other journalists, and hundreds of abductees from Ayn al-Arab (Kobani) and Afrin and other people from Deir Ezzor.
January 2021… another month passes and no investigation into alleged Coalition massacres
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights renew its appeals to all international actors, International Coalition and SDF to announce the results of interrogations with ISIS detainees and what happened to the thousands of abductees. The Syrian Observatory had previously called upon the international community to investigate reports regarding the killing of 200 ISIS operatives and their families, women and children, in a massacre committed by the Coalition’s jets by bombing al-Baghouz camp on March 21, 2019.
According to SOHR sources, 200 bodies were buried at dawn on that particular day, without information as to whether the International Coalition was aware of the presence of children and women from ISIS families inside the camp or not.
However, all these appeals remain unanswered. Therefore, SOHR renews its appeals to all relevant parties to announce the whole facts and hold accountable those responsible for the massacres and violations over the past five years during which the Coalition were actively involved in the Syrian crisis.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, while providing adequate monitoring of Coalition operations in Syria, stresses once more that it would have been possible to avoid the heavy losses of Syrian civilian lives if the International Coalition had not ignored SOHR’s calls to spare and protect civilians from its military operations, where the presence of Islamic State militants or other jihadist groups in a civilian area does not in any way justify the blank and discriminate bombardment of area and the loss of civilian lives.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also stresses that the negative impact of Turkish military intervention on civilians could have been avoided, if the US President had applied enough pressure on his Turkish counterpart to stop a new humanitarian crisis, displacing thousands and killing and injuring hundreds.
On the other hand, we at SOHR would like to remind the world that the oil and gas resources, controlled by the International Coalition, belong only to the Syrian people. Therefore, all the concerned parties are obliged under international laws and norms to preserve these resources and ensure that they will not be stolen or seized in any way; these resources do not belong to the “regime”, “Iran” or any other party; they belong only to the people of Syria, who have been suffering the brutalities of an ongoing war for over nine years. SOHR also warns of repercussions of exploiting these sources, seizing them or depriving the Syrians of their rights in resources.