82 months of International Coalition operations in Syria | US-Iranian conflict tops the scene, while over 15 ISIS members arrested in five security campaign with SDF
Completing the 82nd 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.
In the 82nd month of International Coalition operations in Syria, 55 trucks and vehicles affiliated to the Coalition, carrying military and logistical supplies, crossed into Syria from Kurdistan Region of Iraq, where they headed to the Coalition’s military bases in north-east Syria region. These trucks entered Syria in two batches with 25 vehicles entered on July 10 and 30 others entered on July 19.
International Coalition Forces ran several patrols in different areas in north-east Syria region, mostly were concentrated in al-Hasakah countryside, near the Syria-Turkey border.
In the past month, SOHR activists also documented the participation of the International Coalition in five joint security campaign with SDF in Deir Ezzor and al-Hasakah, including raids and an airdrop. These campaigns resulted in the arrest of 13 people, including ISIS commanders, in Kherbet al-Tamr, Abdan, Kherbet al-Jamous in the eastern and southern countryside of al-Hasakah, al-Zar, al-Busayrah and Zaghir Jazeera in Deir Ezzor.
On July 21, Syrian Observatory activists reported that Syria Democratic Forces (SDF), supported by the International Coalition forces, launched a new security operation in Kherbat Jamous village in east al-Hasakah countryside near Jabal Kawkab which is under the control of Syrian regime.
The security operation targeted a house after the troops cordoned it off and calls the people inside the house to surrender, but the suspects resisted, as exchange of fire erupted between the two sides. Meanwhile, International Coalitions fighter jets intervened and bombarded the house, which caused the death of three suspects believed to be ISIS members who were inside the house.
Meanwhile, a tension has alarmingly escalated between US forces operating within the International Coalition on one hand, and Iranian forces and their proxy militias in Syrian territory, exactly in west Euphrates region in the eastern countryside of Deir Ezzor. This tension, which included exchange of fire and bombardment, started on June 28 when a US fighter jet targeted military positions of Iranian-backed militias in al-Bokamal countryside, near the Syria-Iraq border. This attack left nine militiamen of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces dead and resulted in destruction of an ammunition and weapons warehouse and another military post in the region.
On the same day, June 28, Iranian-backed militias responded to the US airstrikes by firing several rockets on al-Omar oil field and the residences there in the eastern countryside of Deir Ezzor, where the largest military base of the International Coalition in Syria is located. The rocket fire caused material damage and burned down several vehicles.
Also, International Coalition Forces stationed in the labor’s residences in al-Omar oil field targeted Iranian positions in al-Mayadeen city in Deir Ezzor countryside with artillery.
On June 30, International Coalition Forces renewed rocket attacks on positions of the Iranian-backed militias in al-Mayadeen desert in western Deir Ezzor, while the Iranians reacted to the Coalition fire by attacking al-Omar oil field on July 4.
While on July 10, Iranian-backed militias fired a rocket on Koneko gas field where a Coalition military base is located in the eastern countryside of Deir Ezzor. A day later, the Iranians fired a homemade missile on al-Omar oil field.
US forces responded, on July 18, by airstrikes by a drone on Iranian positions in west Euphrates region, as at least one military vehicle of the Iraqi Hezbollah operating under the banner of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces was attacked in al-Suway’a area in al-Bokamal countryside, near the Syria-Iraq border, shortly after crossing into Syrian territory from Iraq. According to SOHR sources, the targeted vehicle was a truck carrying weapons and ammunition, while the US airstrikes resulted in the destruction of the truck and the death of the driver. However, it is not known if there were other militiamen in the truck when it was attacked.
Abductees forgotten by Coalition and SDF
28 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.
July 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.