ISIS expands influence in Deir Ezzor, increases number of displaced people
Since the beginning of this year, ISIS has managed to expand its influence and spread in the western Deir Ezzor countryside through its terrorist operations that have caused the displacement of a large number of residents, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA).
The countryside of Deir Ezzor has recently witnessed many kidnappings and assassinations against civilians, employees and soldiers in the ranks of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
According to reports from the Syrian National Army published by SANA, the terrorist organization remains in the areas in which it hid in 2017.
The terrorist operations carried out by ISIS on an ongoing basis, in conjunction with the assassinations, especially for employees working in the Autonomous Administration, led to the displacement of a large number of residents and their migration to live in places far from the countryside of Deir Ezzor.
In the same context, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed that the terrorist organization expanded its territory in all areas of the eastern and western countryside of Deir Ezzor, in addition to increasing the activity of its sleeper cells, noting that what helped it to do so was the nature of the terrain, rugged mountains, and security voids that reach the point of complete fragility.
The Syrian Observatory explained that ISIS recently adopted a terrifying method to displace the residents from their homes, as it deliberately detonated sound bombs in front of the doors of the houses, as well as threatening the residents with death and forcing them to pay money. Some elements force the residents to pay a monthly sum, in addition to theft, looting, entering homes without observing their sanctity, and taking food and what they need by force. All of this caused a large number of residents to flee and go to live in other governorates.
The Observatory added that the ISIS elements go to merchants and the wealthy to force them to pay large sums of money, and in case of disapproval, they are killed in mysterious circumstances, and sometimes their homes are blown up or one of their sons kidnapped to pay the ransom.
Fires and assassinations
In turn, the Syrian newspaper Jesr said that ISIS cells burned a large area of agricultural land belonging to some farmers for their failure to pay royalties, in addition to the assassinations of some military youth in the SDF, as well as attacks on the homes of some Kurdish leaders and kidnapping them in unknown places. It also launches daily attacks on SDF security checkpoints and sometimes targets security patrols in cars.
For his part, Syrian political activist Rayan Maarouf said that the security situation in Deir Ezzor and its countryside has become extremely tragic and dangerous, as the area has become unfit for living due to the practices of ISIS terrorist cells, especially since the organization’s terrorist operations have frighteningly increases in recent months.
In a statement to the Reference, Maarouf confirmed that ISIS has managed since the beginning of this year to regain a large part of its strength due to the security authorities' neglect of this area and focusing their efforts on Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) in Idlib Governorate, as well as because of the security absence and the displacement of citizens.