Middle East

ISIS takes brutal revenge on tribal insurgents in Syria

A boy rides a bicycle along a street in Deir al-Zor, eastern Syria February 16, 2014. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi

BEIRUT: The Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) responded Tuesday to recent attacks against its forces in Deir al-Zor province by displaying the heads of three tribesmen who took up arms against them, an anti-regime monitor said Tuesday.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the three tribal fighters were from the village of al-Jurdi, where the grisly messages to the public were placed in a public square. ISIS militants and tribesmen clashed on the outskirts of the village, it added, after tribal fighters withdrew from al-Jurdi Monday and ISIS seized the village.

Monitoring group The Syria Human Rights Network warned ISIS was planning a campaign of revenge in the wake of recent attacks against its fighters in Deir al-Zor.

Other, unconfirmed reports spoke of a car bomb attack against an ISIS headquarters in the town of Al-Bukamal on the Iraqi border, which caused dozens of casualties.

The Observatory said a car bomb in the town of Ashara overnight targeted an ISIS headquarters, killing and wounding ISIS fighters.

A separate IED attack also took place in Ashara, causing no casualties, it added.

ISIS swept through much of Deir al-Zor province in July, but its non-aggression agreements with locals broke down after ISIS detained members of the Sheiatat tribe, and a series of hit-and-run attacks against ISIS have taken place in recent weeks.

The Observatory said that ISIS militants discovered four separate weapons caches in the city of Deir al-Zor belonging to its rival the Nusra Front and the Ahrar al-Sham militia, left behind during their withdrawal from the city.

The Observatory said that ISIS also ordered the “exile to outside Deir al-Zor province” of Shujaa Nuwaiji, the commander of an Islamist militia, and his brother.

Also in Deir al-Zor city, both regime troops and ISIS suffered casualties during clashes in the Sheikh Yassin neighborhood.

Separately, regime airstrikes targeted ISIS positions in Deir al-Zor province and killed five fighters, one of them a Moroccan, in the village of Busayra, the Observatory said.

A separate airstrike against a village killed a woman, it added.

Two warplanes struck ISIS’ eastern stronghold Raqqa. No information was available about casualties.

ISIS also clashed with Kurdish fighters in Hassakeh province, to the north. Activists reported shelling on the town of Yaaroubieh on the Iraqi border, accusing ISIS of targeting the area from the Iraq side.

In the town of Ras al-Ain on the Turkish border further west, a number of ISIS fighters were killed in clashes with the YPG Kurdish militia, the Observatory said.

The regime and rebels, meanwhile, claimed advances in Aleppo and Damascus, respectively.

The Observatory said regime troops, backed by paramilitaries, seized two hills on the outskirts of Aleppo after clashes with Islamist militias. In Damascus, pro-opposition media outlets said rebel groups in the suburb of Mliha had managed to break a blockade imposed on them by regime forces. While fighting continued to rage in Mliha, which is located near the road to Damascus International Airport, the breaking of the blockade will help the rebels maintain their control of the area, the reports said.

In Damascus, at least three people were killed in mortar bomb attacks by an Islamist militia, the Observatory said. The attacks struck Muhajirin, Mazzeh, Malki, Abu Rummaneh and Shaalan in the west, and Bab Touma and Dweilaa in the east.

During the distribution of humanitarian assistance in the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp, a fighter was killed during clashes between gunmen and the pro-regime PFLP-GC, while a woman was killed by a mortar bomb.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on August 06, 2014, on page 8.




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