As New Year's celebrations were taking place in the city of Qamishli, the Internal Security Forces of the SDF tightened security in the area.
Qamishli and the north-east of Syria has been seeing spates of intermittent ISIS attacks over the past few months, especially as the local units of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have had to re-direct their personnel and efforts to cope with the consequences of the Turkish-backed “Operation Peace Spring” military operation in the region.
“We hope that it will be a good year for everyone and that our city returns to its former state. Over the holiday period, we were subjected to bombings, and this sparked anxiety and fear among the people, but the forces in Qamishli provide us with the protection that we need to celebrate Christmas and New Year in our churches”, stated a resident of Qamishli.
There were fears that this would affect New Year’s celebrations, which would be a potential target for ISIS terrorists. The local SDF have nevertheless made security preparations for the festive period in order to prevent any potential terrorist attacks.
“Over the Christmas and New Year holidays, we heighten the general alert. We increase security checkpoints and patrols, and we monitor and pursue sleeper cells to prevent any terrorist attacks that would cause anxiety and fear”, asserted Manal Haji Ali, a member of the General Command of the Internal Security Forces.
People from the region even travelled to Qamishli to celebrate the New Year. Those who arrived felt safe among the local security forces.
“The holiday atmosphere is excellent. We came from Hasakah to Qamishli to celebrate the holiday here. I noticed that there are strict security measures to protect the Syrian people and the people of Hasakah. We support these measures as they reduce security risks”, commented Mohammed Fares.
Although ISIS has more often targeted military personnel in its terrorist attacks, there have also been occasions where the group has killed civilians, and so the extra security measures taken over the festive period were deemed to be necessary.