Mystery group strikes ISIS

At least one member of the extremist group was killed in an attack in Deir Ezzor's Subeykhan.

Arabic graffiti reading "Death to the ISIS." (AFP/Haidar Hamdani)

BEIRUT – ISIS has come under attack by unknown assailants in a town along the Euphrates River, the latest in a series of mystery strikes targeting the jihadist group in eastern Syria.


“Unidentified gunmen attacked an ISIS headquarters in Subeykhan in the eastern countryside of Deir Ezzor, leading to the death of at least one ISIS before the [assailants] fled,” activist told the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights in a report published Monday.


The monitoring NGO did not go into details on the murky incident, which follows on the heels of a number of similar operations in the desert region.


The pro-rebel Shaam News also covered the attack, but did not provide more details than the SOHR report. Subeykhan lies approximately 18 kilometers southeast of Al-Mayadeen, a town where ISIS has been attacked a number of times, forcing the group at one time to put the area on lockdown.


As with previous attacks in the Deir Ezzor province, the identity of the gunmen remains unknown and no group has yet to claim responsibility.

Perhaps the most notable ISIS resistance force present in Deir Ezzor is the White Shroud, a shadowy Free Syrian Army-affiliated organization that has claimed responsibility for assassinations and strikes against ISIS since it took over the province. From time to time anti-ISIS actions are also claimed by a pro-regime group calling itself the Popular Resistance Front in the Eastern Region against ISIS.


Mystery attacks


ISIS has been hit by a number of attacks over the past year in apparent reprisals for the draconian rules it imposes in eastern Syria.


On January 7, 2015, unknown persons kidnapped Hisbah religious police members in an ambush and burned their vehicle. The fate and whereabouts of the kidnapped men remains unclear.


A day earlier, the decapitated body of the deputy leader of the group was found near the electricity plant in Al-Mayadeen, a small town northwest of Deir Ezzor.


His body bore signs of torture, and a cigarette was found in his mouth. The attackers wrote on his body: "This is munkar [a forbidden action], sheikh," in reference to the smoking ban imposed by the Hisbah.


The tempo of the mystery strikes picked up in the ensuing months, with gunmen conducting a number of deadly hit-and-run shootings across eastern Syria that left dozens of jihadists dead and injured.


In response ISIS heightened its security measures in the Deir Ezzor province, which it seized large swathes of in a campaign that lasted from April to July 2014 and led to the expulsion or assimilation of all openly active rebel groups in the region.


In early April 2015, the ISIS began digging trenches outside towns and villages it controls in Deir Ezzor province. The group also briefly shut down the small town of Al-Mayadeen in mid-April following a brazen attack on a courthouse that killed a number of its members.


The security measures, however, have not stymied the attacks, with unknown gunmen attempting to assassinate an ISIS commander in the village of Al-Tayyana in July 2015.


NOW’s English news desk editor Albin Szakola (@AlbinSzakola) wrote this report. Amin Nasr translated the Arabic-language source material.

Arabic graffiti reading "Death to the ISIS." (AFP/Haidar Hamdani)

The monitoring NGO did not go into details on the murky incident, which follows on the heels of a number of similar operations in the desert region

  • Faizal

    Why did you people always refered ISIS as Jihadists . ISIS are not Jihadists . They are Khawarijs . They are not elegible to be called as Jihadists .

    April 18, 2016

  • Phil؟

    LOL.. so in your twisted logic, 'jihadists' are a good thing?

    April 20, 2016