104th month of Coalition operations in Syria | Escalating security campaigns leads to arrest of nearly 25 ISIS members and commanders and 150 trucks brought in to military bases
Completing the 104th 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 past month.
In the 104th month of International Coalition operations in Syria, 150 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 30th of April and the 9th, 13th, 15, and 16th of May. 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 12 joint security operations with SDF, namely raids and airdrops, arresting 23 members of ISIS cells, including five commanders. These operations can be summarised as follows:
- April 23: SDF-backed Counter-Terrorism Special Units (H.A.T.), backed by Coalition aircraft, carried out two separate operations in Al-Raqqah city and Al-Sahlabiyah village in the western countryside of Al-Raqqah to arrest ISIS members. The units cordoned off hideouts of ISIS members, before they arrested four members of ISIS cells. The arrested members worked on providing ISIS cells with intelligence information to carry out attacks against SDF members.
- April 27: Special units of the Internal Security Forces (Asayish) carried out an airdrop operation with the participation of the “International Coalition” forces, in Mozan village in Al-Baghoz town in the eastern countryside of Deir Ezzor, and arrested the leader of an “ISIS” cell during the operation, where he was taken to a security centre. It is noted that the leader is a member in a Komin of the local council of Al-Baghoz council in Deir Ezzor countryside.
- April 28: SDF-backed Counter-Terrorism Special Units (H.A.T.), backed by Coalition Forces, carried out a security campaign in Al-Dashishah desert after monitoring ISIS members’ movements in that area, where they arrested a senior ISIS commander called “Saleh Dahmash.” The security campaign coincided with raids nearby the targeted site. According to SOHR sources, the arrested commander was engaged in smuggling operations and transportation of ISIS cells in desert areas in Al-Hasakah in SDF-controlled areas, and he supervised logistical affairs.
- May 2: Special security units of SDF, with aerial support by the International Coalition, launched an arrest campaign in Al-Hawl town in Al-Hasakah countryside and arrested an ISIS member, who works on transporting weapons to ISIS cells inside the camp and smuggling ISIS members from the camp to other areas, and arrested another collaborator with ISIS, where equipment was confiscated from their house.
- May 3: SDF-backed Counter-Terrorism Special Units (H.A.T.), with the participation of International Coalition aerial and ground forces, carried out a security campaign in Al-Busayrah town in the eastern countryside of Deir Ezzor, arresting an ISIS member, after asking him, via loudspeakers, to surrender. During the campaign, documents and equipment were found proving his involvement in operations executed by ISIS cells in that area.
- May 6: Members of a patrol of the International Coalition and SDF arrested an ISIS leader, who is believed to be a leader of first line, in Hazima town in Al-Raqqa countryside. Moreover, the forces arrested two civilians from the region, who are believed to belong to ISIS.
- May 8: Counter-Terrorism Units and International Coalition Forces carried out a joint security operation in Abu Al-Naytal village in the northern countryside of Deir Ezzor, with the participation of 14 military vehicles of the Coalition, along with the flight of Coalition helicopters over the region and firing stun grenades near the targeted site. The operation led to the arrest of two ISIS cells.
- May 15: International Coalition Forces, with the participation of the SDF-backed Counter-Terrorism Special Units, carried out an airdrop in the early hours of Monday, on a house in Al-Huwayja area in Al-Mashlab neighbourhood in the east of Al-Raqqah city. Five helicopters participated in the operation, where two helicopters carried out the airdrop, while the three others hovered at a low altitude over Al-Mashlab neighbourhood. SOHR activists reported hearing heavy machinegun fire by the Coalition helicopter in different areas. According to SOHR sources the operation started at 01:00 am, and it was accomplished at 02:30 am. However, the identities of people targeted by this operation remained unknown, but sources suggested that they were members of ISIS cells.
- May 15: Anti-terrorism units of SDF launched a security operation in Al-Dashisha town in southern Al-Hasakah countryside, with aerial and ground support from the International Coalition, searching for ISIS cells, where an ISIS commander and his companion were arrested with weapons and documentaries that prove that they belong to ISIS in their possession.
- May 16: International Coalition Forces, with the participation of Syrian Democratic Forces, carried out an air drop this dawn, targeting a house in the SDF-controlled town of Abu Al-Naytal in the northern countryside of Deir Ezzor. The security forces called upon the residents, via loudspeakers, not to leave their homes during the campaign, before they arrested a man called “Mohamed Matshar Al-Sorour” who had worked for ISIS security service.
- May 19: Units of the Internal Security Forces (Asayish), backed by International Coalition helicopters, carried out a security operation in Theban town in the eastern countryside of Deir Ezzor, searching for ISIS cells. The operation led to the arrest of two ISIS Emirs (top commanders) and a collaborator with ISIS.
In the past month, International Coalition Forces conducted 12 rounds of military drills in their bases, one round with the participation of the “Free Syria Army” in Al-Tanaf area and the rest with the participation of SDF in Deir Ezzor and Al-Hasakah countryside. Here are further details:
- April 25: Several consecutive explosions were heard in the largest base of the “International Coalition” forces in Syria, caused by live ammunition military training in the vicinity of the base of Al-Omar oil field in the eastern countryside of Deir Ezzor, where imaginary targets were hit to rise combat readiness, amid the flight of the coalition warplanes over the base.
- April 26: SOHR activists monitored extensive flight of two warplanes of the International Coalition over Al-Hasakah city, coinciding with extensive deployment of members of the security forces of Al-Asayesh, starting from Al-Bassel Square in Ghuwairan neighbourhood all the way to Al-Nashwa neighbourhood in the city, amid inspection of identities of passengers.According to reliable SOHR sources, the International Coalition was conducting ground and aerial exercises to check the weapons and to make sure all fighters and their equipment were ready. In this context, plumes of smoke were seen rising from the US base in Al-Shaddadi city in southern Al-Hasakah due to these exercises.
- April 28: Loud explosions were heard in “Al-Omar” oil field in Deir Ezzor countryside, which is used by the International Coalition forces as their military base, as a result of military exercises with heavy weapons.
- April 29: SOHR activists have reported hearing successive explosions in Al-Hasakah countryside, which were caused by live-fire exercises conducted by International Coalition Forces in Tel Baydar base on the international highway (M4) in northern Al-Hasakah. The military drills coincided with flight by International Coalition aircraft over the region.
- April 30: “International Coalition” forces conducted military training using live ammunition and heavy weapons in their military base in Rumeylan city east of Al-Qamishly in the northern countryside of Al-Hasakah, where violent explosions were heard in the area, amid the flight of “International Coalition” helicopters.
- May 1: The International Coalition forces have conducted military exercises and maneuvers simulating drone attacks, and maneuvers with missiles to raise the readiness of the International Coalition and military equipment in Al-Tanf base in the 55th kilometre de-escalation zone at the junction of borders between Syria, Jordan and Iraq.
- May 1: The “International Coalition” forces conducted military exercises with live ammunition and heavy artillery in its base in “Koniko” gas field in Deir Ezzor countryside, where violent explosions were heard in the region, amid flight of helicopters of the International Coalition.
- May 5: International Coalition forces and SDF members conducted joint military exercises with live ammunition in Estrahet Wazer base in north western Al-Hasakah countryside, amid flight of three International Coalition planes over the region.
- May 5: International Coalition forces conducted military exercises with SDF in the desert of Abo Khashab area in western Deir Ezzor countryside, using heavy weapons.
- May 9: International Coalition forces conducted military exercises with live ammunition in “Koniko” gas station to the north of Deir Ezzor city.
- May 10: The International Coalition forces conducted military exercises with live ammunition and heavy artillery in its base in Koniko gas field northern of Deir Ezzor for the second consecutive day, to raise the combating readability for the soldiers, coinciding with extensive flight of warplanes and drones.
- May 16: International Coalition Forces and Syrian Democratic Forces conducted live-fire exercises on the road to Abu Khashab in the northern countryside of Deir Ezzor with the aim of raising combat readiness and alertness.
Moreover, in the 104th month of Coalition operations in Syria, International Coalition Forces conducted four patrols in Deir Ezzor; they are as follows:
- April 23: International Coalition Forces conducted an inspection tour yesterday in Deir Ezzor countryside, where a patrol comprising four armoured vehicles set off from Al-Omar oil field in the eastern countryside of Deir Ezzor, which hosts the Coalition’s largest base in Syria, heading to Shenan desert and Al-Tayyanah in the same countryside.
- April 29: International Coalition Forces ran a military patrol in Deir Ezzor countryside, where a convoy of seven vehicles set off from Al-Tayyanah town and toured the area along the river and headed to the main road, before returning to their base in Al-Omar oil field in the eastern countryside of Deir Ezzor, the Coalition’s largest base in Syria.
- May 13: US forces conducted a patrol comprising five military armoured vehicles coming from Al-Omar oil field towards Al-Hawayj town in eastern Deir Ezzor countryside, where it stopped near Euphrates River adjacent to areas of Iranian militias before heading towards US base in Al-Omar field in Deir Ezzor, in a scouting operation in the region.
- May 15: US forces have conducted a military patrol comprising several armoured vehicles, that set off from Koniko gas field northern of Deir Ezzor. The patrol roamed in Al-Ezba town and around the oil wells in a scouting tour in the regime.
On May 3, US aircraft targeted a man in Idlib countryside in areas controlled by Hayyaat Tahrir Al-Sham and opposition factions. Reliable SOHR sources confirmed that the victim was a civilian living in Qorqanya in Idlib countryside and worked in a farm for keeping chicken and sheep. SOHR sources have also confirmed that the man was a father of ten children and did not joined or related to any military formations or armed groups.
SOHR activists asked locals if the victim participated in any military actions outside Syria, such as Iraq war, but they confirmed that he never left Syria neither for work nor participating in military actions.
May 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.