Conflict

Local anti ISIS forces rooting out group's presence in Syria

Syria

Local units of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are continuing to push ISIS forces out of the Euphrates pocket in Deir ez-Zour.

The internal security forces of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have gone on full alert after receiving intelligence that ISIS sleeper cells have planted explosive devices in Dhiban, in the eastern countryside of Deir ez-Zour Province. According to the leader of the local unit that went to defuse the device, ISIS sleeper cells are planting explosive devices, which can be detonated from a distance, to target civilians escaping the militant group’s last enclave along the Iraqi-Syrian border.

Feeling threatened by the SDF’s operation to liberate the last towns east of the Euphrates river, ISIS has attempted to target civilians and security personnel in various forms.

The internal security forces have also claimed that ISIS militants are trying to hide amongst escaping civilians to carry out attacks throughout the country.

However, due to the intensive screening process, ISIS infiltrators are being captured and sent to prison before reaching any towns.

According to a head of an SDF internal security unit, there is a specific process that is conducted when they receive a group of people who have escaped from the ISIS-held towns, most notably Sousa, Shaa’fa and Baghuz.

“As you can see these people here are displaced, some of them are foreigners; others are Iraqi. We separate the foreigners from the [real] civilians, and we have a list of wanted people [that we screen them through],” said the head of one of the internal security units. “If we find anyone who is wanted we immediately arrest them, while the rest get taken to camps.”

While the majority of Syria has been recaptured from ISIS militants, a few enclaves remain along the Iraqi-Syrian border. This has resulted in the SDF launching operations to clear those areas from ISIS. The SDF, which receives backing from the US-led International Coalition, has also been cooperating with the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) on the other side of the border to capture escaping ISIS militants.

The battle against ISIS is coming to an end in Syria. However, the security forces on both sides of the border must take all necessary precautions to protect civilians from potential ISIS threats.