Anti-ISIS campaign | Russian jets renew their bombardment on Syrian desert south-west of Al-Raqqah amid ongoing combing campaign
On Monday, Russian fighter jets carried out about six airstrikes, targeting ISIS hideouts in Al-Rusafah desert south-west of Al-Raqqah.
On June 25, SOHR activists published a report about ISIS activity in June, as follows:
The “Islamic State” continues its activity and operations in Syrian territory, which clearly indicate that it is still alive and kicking. June 2022 has witnessed an unprecedented escalation of ISIS operations in the Syrian desert, including armed attacks, explosions and ambushes, which targeted regime forces and their proxy militias in the Syrian desert, specifically Al-Rasafah desert, the surrounding areas of Jabal Al-Bishri in Al-Raqqah countryside, Atharia area and other positions in the eastern countryside of Hama, Al-Sukhnah and Palmyra in the eastern countryside of Homs, Deir Ezzor desert and areas near the administrative border between Deir Ezzor and Al-Raqqah.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) has monitored and tracked the circumstances of ISIS escalating attacks in the desert during this month, documenting 11 attacks in 20 days, precisely from June 2 to June 22. These attacks left heavy losses, as SOHR has documented the death of 42 regime soldiers and proxy militiamen and injury of 31 others. In addition, a civilian was killed and 14 others sustained various injuries in the same attacks. While ISIS lost 19 members in Russian airstrikes and clashes with regime forces and militias.
Further details of the circumstances of ISIS attacks in the Syrian desert in June 2022 can be summarised as follows:
June 2: Four people were killed and 20 others soldiers and civilians were injured in an armed attack by ISIS members on a bus in Al-Shawla desert in the southern countryside of Deir Ezzor. The fatalities were three military personnel working for Iranian-backed militias, and they were carrying IDs issued by regime security services with the aim of “camouflage,” as well as a civilian who was travelling on that bus. According to SOHR sources, the killed soldiers, who were from Hama, Homs and Al-Raqqah provinces, were in plainclothes and they were on their way home to spend their vacation.
June 4: Four members of regime forces and “Al-Qaterji” militia were injured in a landmine explosion, while these members were in an inspection tour near Al-Taym oil field in Deir Ezzor countryside on the highway between Deir Ezzor and Damascus.
June 8: A regime captain was killed in the explosion of a landmine planted by ISIS nearby Al-Taym oil field in Deir Ezzor countryside on the highway between Deir Ezzor and Damascus.
June 11: Two regime soldiers were injured in a landmine explosion in Al-Shawla desert in the south of Deir Ezzor. The two soldiers were taken to the hospital.
June 16: Three regime soldiers were killed and six others were injured in an armed attack on a military bus by ISIS members in the Syrian desert, near regime posts in the vicinity of the 55-kilometres zone.
June 16: Three members of “Task Forces” of “Al-Qaterji” militia were injured and a truck was damaged due to an IED explosion in a vehicle of the “Task Forces” on the desert road to Al-Taym oil field in Deir Ezzor countryside.
June 17: Five members of the Russian-backed Palestinian militia of “Liwaa Al-Quds” were killed in an armed attack by ISIS cells on their car near the junction in Arak Atiyah village, near Al-Sukhnah desert to the flank of Palmyra city.
June 20: 15 regime soldiers and proxy militiamen were killed in an armed attack by ISIS members in Jabal Al-Bishri area in Al-Raqqah desert.
June 21: Two regime soldiers were killed and three others were injured in an armed attack by ISIS cells on a military position in Jabal Al-Bishri area in Al-Raqqah desert.
June 21: Four regime soldiers were killed and seven others were injured in an ambush by ISIS members, which targeted a regime military column comprising vehicles and buses in an area to the east of Al-Dumayr military airbase, where ISIS members targeted the column with IEDs and guns.
June 22: Nine regime soldiers were killed in clashes with ISIS members in Jabal Al-Bishri area in Al-Raqqah desert.
SOHR has been all along warning against ISIS resurgence and stressing that the defeat of ISIS in Syrian territory, as declared in 2019, was “symbolic”, as ISIS has been only eliminated as a controlling power in populated areas. The daily attacks by ISIS fighters and cells throughout Syria, clearly indicate that the “Islamic State” is still alive and kicking. While the frequent security campaigns and military operations by regime forces, Russia, International Coalition and SDF have all failed so far to curb or hinder ISIS’s escalating activities.
The Syrian Observatory also points out that it had already warned, well before “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant” declared itself as a “Caliphate State” in Syria and Iraq, that this organization did intend to work for the Syrian people and serve their interest, but rather ISIS continued to kill innocent Syrians, who had been suffering the brutality of war and violence and became displaced.
Furthermore, the “Islamic State” recruited children in the so-called “cubs of the caliphate”, controlled the wealth and resources of Syrian people and harnessed them to build a “caliphate”, and traded openly back and forth with one of Syria’s neighbouring country.
According to SOHR statistics, the number of fatalities in military operations in the Syrian desert since early 2022 has increased to 275; and they are as follows:
131 ISIS members were killed in Russian airstrikes on ISIS hideouts in the deserts of Homs, Al-Suwaidaa, Hama, Al-Raqqah, Deir Ezzor and Aleppo.
143 members of regime forces and their proxy militias were killed in 49 operations by ISIS members, including ambushes, armed attacks and explosions, in western Euphrates and the deserts of Deir Ezzor, Al-Raqqah, Homs, Al-Suwaidaa, Hama and Aleppo.
One civilian was killed in an ISIS attack in the Syrian desert.
Moreover, regime forces backed by Palestinian “Liwaa Al-Quds” and other militias continue combing campaign and search for ISIS cells Jabal Al-Bishri area in south-eastern Al-Raqqah desert and Deir Ezzor desert.