Turkish escalation helps ISIS intensify practices in NE Syria

RAQQA, Syria (North Press) – Islamic State Organization (ISIS) has intensified its operations since the beginning of the current week in tandem with recent Turkish attacks on northeast Syria.

On December 2 and 6, the organization publicized photos presenting militants swearing allegiance to the “ISIS new caliph” Abu al-Hassan al-Hussein al-Qurashi after the former leader was killed.

The recent photos showed the militants dressing in ISIS style with explosive belts inside a room with ISIS slogans hanged against walls.

While the previous photos presented ISIS militants with four-by-four vehicles, and light and heavy weapons.

On November 30, the US Central Command (CENTCOM) announced the death of the former ISIS leader Abu al-Hassan al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi at the hands of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) in Daraa Governorate, south Syria.

Earlier on the same day, the organization’s media affiliate al-Furqan aired an audio by the group’s spokesman Abu Omar al-Muhajer, announcing the death of al-Hashimi.

The group named Abu al-Hussein al-Husseini al-Qurayshi as new leader.

On December 5, ISIS claimed responsibility for an operation against a checkpoint held by Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the northern countryside of Deir ez-Zor, east Syria, killing an SDF fighter.

The SDF suspended on November 23 its operations against the organization due to the recent Turkish escalation in the SDF-held areas.

Since November 20, Turkish forces have carried out hundreds areal and ground attacks along the border strip north and northeast Syria, targeting civilians, military personnel of the SDF and the Syrian government forces in addition to striking infrastructures.

In addition, the Turkish attacks targeted the area surrounding Hawl Camp east of Hasakah, northeast Syria, and prisons where thousands of ISIS militants are held, leading US and local officials to caution that ISIS would revive its activities.

On November 24, Mazloum Abdi, Commander in Chief of the SDF, said Turkish potential ground operation would result in the resurgence of the ISIS.

The Turkish ground operation would lead to “a second civil war in Syria”, Abdi added.

On November 21, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan revealed that there are talks with parties to the conflict of Syria to carry out a ground military operation on northern Syria and northern Iraq.

ISIS also claimed, on November 8, responsibility for targeting a military vehicle belonging to the SDF in a town west of Deir ez-Zor, east Syria.

The organization’s militants targeted, with machineguns, an SDF military vehicle near al-Hisan Roundabout, 5 kilometers west of Deir ez-Zor.

Since early 2022, ISIS has claimed responsibility for 172 operations in Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES) held areas, most of them targeted SDF fighters and vehicles.

The countryside of Deir ez-Zor witnesses a spike in assassinations, targeting SDF fighters, employees of the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES), tribal leaders and civilians, despite the intensive security operations launched by the SDF.

Reporting by Ahmad Othman