Deir Ezzor attack in Syria claims hundreds of lives

The Islamic state carried out the Deir Ezzor attack from several fronts. Apart from the dead, hundreds of people were also abducted from the area

Deir Ezzor attack

Fighters from the Islamic State have abducted around 400 people during the Deir Ezzor attack that was carried out on Saturday. The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has reported that the Deir Ezzor attack on Saturday started simultaneously on several fronts and resulted in IS capturing new territory.

Islamic state fighters

At least 135 people were killed in the attack. The dead includes 85 civilians from the area as well as 50 regime fighters. The human rights monitor also reported that 400 civilians from the area had also been kidnapped by the group.

Rami Abdel Rahman, the director of the Observatory said: “Those abducted, all of whom are Sunnis, include women, children and family members of pro-regime fighters.”

He also said that the abductees had been transported to areas that are under tight IS control. These areas lie to the west of Deir Ezzor, and to the Northwest where the stronghold of the group is situated.
The observatory also reported that IS had also lost around 40 fighters who were killed during the Deir Ezzor attack.

There is still heavy fighting going on in the area where regime forces are engaged with IS fighters. The regime troops are backed by Russian airstrikes as they try to wrestle back lost territory from the terrorist group. The regime is also bringing heavy machinery and additional personnel to the area from other battlefields.

The official news agency of Syria reported that at least 300 people including women, elderly and children lost their lives in the recent Deir Ezzor attack. The news agency described the attack as a massacre. The reports cannot be verified by independent sources.

The oil and gas field in the province serve as an alluring source of income for IS. It has also been bombed repeatedly by the coalition as well as British planes. In fact, the British have been pounding the area since December last year.

Deir Ezzor city is the capital of the province. Most of it has been under IS except for some districts where Bashar al-Assad forces have been holding out.

The Deir Ezzor attack may have been carried out in order to boost the morale of the group and improve its image is Syria and Iraq. ISIS has lost a lot of territory in the past few months to several forces and militias. Recently, IS lost the city of Ramadi to the Iraqi forces. It also lost Sinjar to the Kurdish paramilitary forces.

In the northern parts of Syria, near the city of Raqqa which is the de facto capital of IS, the group has lost a vast territory to the Kurds. The Kurdish militia is now only thirty miles from the city of Raqqa. If the death toll from the Deir Ezzor attack is confirmed, it will be one of the highest numbers of casualties caused by ISIS in a single day.

In 2014 IS killed hundreds of Sunni tribesmen in the same province when they tried to oppose the group. In August 2014, when IS overran the Tabqa military base in Raqqa province, it massacred at least 200 regime fighters.

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Bill Schroder

Bill Schroder is a Beirut-based correspondent for The World Beast. He has reported from over a dozen countries in the Middle East for such publications. Follow: Tweets by @SchroderBill