U.S. and Syrian Army forces concurrently hit Islamic State targets on the periphery of Deir Ez-Zor

Two parallel but not coordinated offensives held in Syria’s easternmost part on Saturday by the U.S. forces and the Syrian Arab army against the remaining Jihadist cells of the Islamic State (IS). Both offensives took place near the Syrian-Iraqi borders, in the periphery of the renowned city of Deir Ez-Zor. The U.S. offensive took place near the city of Al Bukamal, located roughly 130 kilometres south of Deir Ez-zor. U.S. fighter aircrafts hit an IS stronghold killing at least two militias and destroying light artillery. The Syrian government condemned the attack as the U.S. aircrafts bombarded the region at a time when Syrian security forces were approaching the IS adversaries. The U.S. assault did not record any collateral casualties to the Syrian Army.

Simultaneously, the Syrian Army intercepted the passage of a group of roaming IS fighters in the city of Al Sukhnah, located 140 kilometres southwest of Deir Ez-Zor. The roaming militias chose the Syrian Desert pathway to reach their allies in the Al Bukamal region. The Syrian army successfully neutralised the terrorist targets even though IS militias took civilians as a human shield.

The use of civilians as human shields is a disturbing practice of jihadist cells in the region and denotes the asymmetric character of warfare in Syria’s battlefronts. According to international observer mission reports, more than 36.000 civilians have fled from Eastern Syrian battlefronts since December. Of them, approximately 3.000 people are suspected to belong to local jihadist cells who escaped the battlefronts before being captured by the security forces.

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