Islamic State has claimed responsibility for attacking a Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) checkpoint in Maesara, south of Hasakah (Hesekê) governorate in northeast Syria, injuring several SDF fighters, as reported by North Press Agency on Monday.
This incident comes on the heels of the SDF’s successful completion of Operation Security Reinforcement in Deir ez-Zor (Dêrezor) in eastern Syria. Initiated on 27 August, the operation resulted in the apprehension of numerous Islamic State militants and narcotics traffickers, and the clearing of ISIS cells from over 90 villages in the northern and western countryside of the region. The SDF also thwarted attacks by mercenaries backed by Turkey in several other locations.
Tensions in the area escalated following the SDF’s arrest of Deir ez-Zor Military Council General Commander Ahmed Al-Khubail, commonly known as Abu Khawla. He was detained on corruption charges, sparking confrontations between his Arab supporters and SDF units.
The operation, although largely successful, came with a human toll. Nine civilians were killed by heavy weaponry, and 25 SDF fighters lost their lives in clashes.
The SDF expressed their commitment to intensifying efforts against criminal elements and ISIS cells, and thanked the community in Deir ez-Zor for their steadfast support during the operation.
ISIS lost its final stronghold in Syria in March 2019, in the town of Baghuz, in the eastern countryside of Deir ez-Zor governorate. Subsequently, thousands of ISIS militants were transferred to prisons, while their families were relocated to camps under the control of the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES).