The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

101st month of Coalition operations in Syria | 130 trucks brought in military bases…ten security operations with SDF lead to ki*lling seven IS-IS members and arresting 140 members of IS-IS cells

Completing the 101st consecutive month of military operations against the “Islamic State” in Syria, the International Coalition continues sending military reinforcement to SDF-held areas, carrying out raids, arrests and various security campaigns 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 101st month of International Coalition operations in Syria, 130 trucks and vehicles affiliated to the Coalition, carrying military and logistical supplies, crossed into Syria from the Kurdistan Region of Iraq in five batches on the 25th and 28th of January and the 3rd, 8th and 14th of February. The trucks headed to the Coalition’s military bases in Al-Hasakah and Deir Ezzor in north-east Syria region.


In the past month, SOHR activists also documented the participation of the International Coalition in 11 joint security operations with SDF, namely raids and airdrops, arresting 140 members of ISIS cells.


Also, these operations left seven ISIS members dead, where units of the anti-terrorism forces of SDF, with aerial support from the International Coalition, launched a campaign on February 10, to pursue ISIS cells in the vicinity of Abo Al-Naital village in northern Deir Ezzor countryside, where clashes erupted between them and ISIS members with machineguns, causing the death of a Syrian member and an Iraqi commander of ISIS, coinciding with International Coalition firing flare grenades over the region.


Meanwhile, the International Coalition forces confirmed the death of an ISIS commander called “Ibrahim Al-Qahtany” in an airstrike committed by its forces with participation of anti-terrorism units of SDF, five days after SOHR announced the death of two ISIS commanders, one of which is Syrian and the other is Iraqi, on February 10. It is worth noting that the commander who was targeted was responsible for planning the attacks of prisons and detention centres holding ISIS members within SDF-held areas, where weapons and ammunition were in his possession.


On February 17, an SDF patrol, backed by International Coalition helicopters, stormed a house in the area between Al-Sabha and Ibriha in the eastern countryside of Deir Ezzor, along with blocking roads leading to that area. Via loudspeakers, SDF forces asked the suspect, who was called “Muhannad Al-Saray Al-Fadgham,” to surrender, but he refused. Clashes erupted between the two sides, which led to the death of the suspect. It is worth noting that Al-Fadgham was an ISIS commander, and he had been arrested and released on several occasions.


On the same day, February 17, Coalition Forces and SDF carried out a joint operation, targeting an ISIS commander who was holed up in a house in Al-Hajanah village in the northern countryside of Deir Ezzor. The operation left a commander known as “Hamza Al-Homsy” and his escort dead, while four members of US forces were injured during.


While on February 22, SDF-backed Counter-terrorism Units, backed by Coalition helicopters, stormed a house in Jadid Ekaydat town in the east of Deir Ezzor, searching for ISIS cells. The unites asked ISIS members, via loudspeakers, to surrender, but they resisted, before clashes erupted between both sides, which resulted in the death of two “ISIS” members.


On the other hand, skirmishes between International Coalition Forces and Iranian-backed militias continued in Deir Ezzor, where SOHR sources reported that rocket strikes of unknown origin targeted positions in two bases of the International Coalition in east Deir Ezzor countryside on February 18, along with high alertness by International Coalition Forces in the vicinity of their base in Al-Omar oil field, the Coalition’s largest bases in Syria. The missiles targeted vital positions in the two bases, including a helipad in Al-Omar field. However, no casualties were reported. According to reliable SOHR sources, the missiles were likely to be fired by Iranian-backed militias. This came after the Iranian-backed militias had changed their tactics regarding attacks against International Coalition Forces in Syria, where they have depended recently on members from east Euphrates region.


While on February 17, International Coalition base in Koniko gas field in Deir Ezzor countryside witnessed security tension among SDF and the International Coalition, where 12 military US tanks were deployed in the vicinity of the field, along with the flight of warplanes over the region, without knowing the reasons.


Also, on February 15, US forces shot down an Iranian drone in north-east Syria, while the drone was conducting a reconnaissance tour over the military base of “Koniko” gas field, where International Coalition Forces are stationed in northern countryside of Deir Ezzor.


Moreover, in the 101st month of Coalition operations in Syria, International Coalition Forces conducted two rounds of military drills.


On January 27, SOHR activists reported hearing a strong explosion in Al-Rukban camp in the 55-kilometre de-confliction zone on the Syrian-Iraqi-Jordanian border triangle, followed by the sound of planes flying over the area. This explosion was caused by military exercises conducted by the International Coalition forces at Al-Tanaf base in 55-kilometre de-confliction zone.


The second round was on February 20 when International Coalition Forces and Syrian Democratic Forces conducted live-fire exercises in the Coalition base in Ghuwayran neighbourhood in Al-Hasakah city with the aim of raising combat readiness of Coalitions troops to deal with expected attacks.


In the meantime, a civil delegation of the International Coalition visited the health centre in Al-Baghouz town in eastern Deir Ezzor countryside to identify the needs and medical shortages in addition to discussing the health conditions in the town and villages that belong to it.


According to reliable SOHR sources, the delegation promised to support the health centre before the end of the current month and to provide the needs of the civilians.


Meanwhile, the delegation continues its tour towards Al-Baghoz local council and held a meeting with the representatives of the town, who reported the extent of damages that were dealt to the town including mosques, schools, houses, stores and trees. Moreover, the delegation also met the families of the victims who lost their children during the control of ISIS over Al-Baghoz town.


Representatives of the town asked the delegation to take into consideration the extent of damages, to provide the necessary support, bring in more humanitarian organizations to help residents of the town and to put an end to the bad medical service and other services.



February 2023: Another month passes and no investigation into alleged Coalition massacres


Despite SOHR repeated and “unheeded” appeals, International Coalition and SDF have not announced 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 on 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 calls and appeals to all relevant parties to disclose and announce the whole facts and hold accountable those responsible for the massacres and violations over the past five years, during which the Coalition was 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 the 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 US Presidents had applied enough pressure on their Turkish counterparts 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 ten years. SOHR also warns of the repercussions of exploiting these sources, seizing them, or depriving the Syrians of their rights to resources.