DAYRO ZCURO, Syria — The Counter-Terrorism Units of the Syrian Democratic Forces arrested 27 suspected Islamic State (ISIS) members across the Dayro Zcuro (Deir ez-Zor) countryside over the weekend and seized a number of weapons.
The operation was carried out in coordination with the U.S.-led International Coalition and focused on the towns of Dashisha and Sour.
Nineteen suspects were arrested in the Dashisha / Sour raid and a number of weapons were seized, including a DshK, RPG, several long rifles and machine guns, three hand grenades, and a quantity of ammunition.
A separate raid was conducted outside the town of Dhiban, east of Dayro Zcuro. Eight men were arrested on charges of planting explosive devices in the area. Those arrested were in possession of large quantities of weapons and ammunition.
In June of this year, the SDF launched a large-scale counter-terror operation, Operation Deterring Terrorism, in Dayro Zcuro and the surrounding areas to combat the presence of Islamic State cells operating in the countryside.
In the following July, a second phase of Operation Deterring Terrorism was launched at the urging of locals still suffering from Islamic State attacks of various kinds. The second phase specifically targeted ISIS hideouts in the areas of Al-Basira, Al-Shahil, Al-Zer, Al-Zayban, and Al-Hawaij in the northern countryside of Dayro Zcuro. Dozens of suspected ISIS members were arrested during the operations.
The Syrian regime and its Russian and Iranian allies have attempted to carry out similar operations in Dayro Zcuro on the side of the Euphrates River under their control with limited success.
Since the beginning of September, Syrian regime military operations targeting the remnants of the Islamic State in and around the Syrian desert (Badia) resulting in the deaths of dozens of fighters on both sides.
The confrontations have been concentrated in the Holob–Hemto–Raqqa (Aleppo–Hama–Raqqa) triangle and, to a lesser extent, in the Badia near Hmoth (Homs) and Dayro Zcuro. Despite the ongoing operations, which have made use of significant Russian air cover, ISIS elements continue to carry out various operations, including ambushes, bombings, and targeted assassinations.
Last week, a Syrian regime convoy went missing on the road between Daramsuq (Damascus) and Dayro Zcuro.
Regime sources stated that, “The convoy was lost in the Syrian Badia after leaving Damascus heading towards Deir ez-Zor.”
Despite combing the area surround where the convoy possibly disappeared, no trace of it was found.
An estimated 125 members of the regime-aligned National Defense Forces (NDF) defected to SDF areas in late-August due to increasing ISIS attacks in the area and to avoid partaking in the Badia operation.
The U.N. believes there are upwards of 10,000 ISIS fighters in Syria and Iraq.