ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Security forces in northeast Syria (Rojava) arrested eight Islamic State group (ISIS) members, including a leader who planned operations in Deir ez-Zor province, in multiple security operations over the past week, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) announced on Wednesday.
Counter-terror units of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) arrested an ISIS “security emir” in al-Balalya village south of Hasaka city. “He was responsible for planning assassinations and conducting operations” in the eastern province of Deir ez-Zor, the SDF stated.
SDF special forces arrested four ISIS fighters in al-Shuhail, eastern Deir ez-Zor. “The cell was responsible for manufacturing of IED’s and mines” and their bomb-making equipment was seized, the SDF stated.
Two ISIS recruiters and another ISIS member involved in planning terror operations were also arrested in separate operations in the Deir ez-Zor countryside.
“Our partners are committed to eliminate terrorist activities in the region,” tweeted Col. Wayne Marotto, spokesperson for the US-led coalition against ISIS that backs the SDF, including providing air support and surveillance.
The operations all took place between June 5 and 9.
The SDF declared the end of the so-called ISIS caliphate two years ago, but cells of the group continue to be a serious security threat in both Syria and Iraq. The US estimates there are 10,000 ISIS fighters operating in both countries.
In Syria, “ISIS retained organizational coherence and remained active in both areas of northeastern Syria where the SDF operate, and in parts of the country that are under Syrian regime control,” the Pentagon stated in its most recent report on anti-ISIS operations.
“In SDF-controlled areas, ISIS maintained a significant presence in rural farming communities and generally limited its attacks to hit-and-run ambushes, assassinations, and IEDs,” the report added.