DAYRO ZCURO, Syria — Unidentified gunmen believed to be associated with the Islamic State (ISIS) murdered an elder of the Al-Musharraf tribe in the village of Al-Sabha in the eastern countryside of Dayro Zcuro (Deir ez-Zor).
Two gunmen on a motorcycle targeted the tribal elder in public. The elder’s brother was also injured in the attack.
The assassination is the latest in a series of attacks on tribal leaders and prominent figures in the local administration.
Two weeks ago, two other elders were seriously wounded in an assassination attempt.
Since the liberation of the region from the Islamic State by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), assassinations and bombing have been a regular occurrence.
The SDF suspects that the Syrian regime and allied Iranian militias are behind the campaign of assassinations targeting local security personnel and tribal leaders cooperating with the SDF and its civil partners, the Syrian Democratic Council and the Democratic Autonomous Administration.
Lewly Abdullah, Co-Chair of the Dayro Zcuro Military Council, is a frequent target of assassins. In late-September, her car was shot at by unknown gunmen on motorcycles on the Al-Kharafi road between Al-Shaddadi and Dayro Zcuro, causing serious injuries to her and her driver. It was the fourth such attempt on her life.
To help secure the region, the SDF have conducted a series of sweeping operations targeting Islamic State and Syrian regime sleeper cells.
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 month of 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.