Islamic State (ISIS) sleeper cells have killed 50 civilians and fighters from local security forces during the first eight months of 2023, according to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
Sleeper cells are concentrated in the region’s Hol prison camp, conducting attacks at every possible opportunity in Deir ez-Zor (Derêzor), Hasakah (Hesekê), al Hol and Raqqa to attempt a revival for the fundamentalist group that was defeated in 2019 by an international coalition, for which the SDF was the main boots on the ground.
The SDF is currently undertaking an operation to fortify security in the Deir ez-Zor countryside, launched on demand from community and religious leaders, the force announced earlier in the week. The group has put in place a curfew for Hasakah province centre and the Shedade and Hol districts.
ISIS conducted six attacks against citizens, community leaders and security forces in August alone, according to the SDF.
On 1 August, civilian Fadî Ednan Muxlif was killed by a group on motorcycles in the Dihale village of Deir ez-Zor.
On August 2, one member of the local security force was killed and two others wounded in an attack on a vehicle bringing in baked bread for a village in Siwere, Deir ez-Zor.
On 19 August, two ISIS members on motorcycles fired on a security vehicle on the road to Ziyanata, Deir ez-Zor, killing one officer and wounding two others.
On 20 August, ISIS members detonated a landmine as a SDF convoy drove by in Şihêl, Deir ez-Zor, and targeted a bread bakery in Hecnê. There were no casualties, but both attacks caused damages.
On 23 August, community leader Êla El Igêdat’s home in Moelix, Deir ez-Zor was attacked, suffering damage.
In Deir ez-Zor, 14 civilians and 32 members of SDF and local security forces were killed in 89 attacks. In Hasakah, four security officers were killed in 12 attacks.