JAI cell takes out IS emir in Al-Hasakah
Jaish al-Islam will continue to assassinate Islamic State fighters and emirs, a JAI spokesman wrote on a closed Facebook page for Syrian journalists Monday.
“There are more operations on the way, if God wills it,” said Mohammed Aloush, head of JAI’s political office, the same day that Sariya Haezom, a unit loyal to JAI, claimed credit for the assassination of an IS emir in Al-Hasakah, Abu Aisha a-Tunisi.
The attack was a revenge operation for IS beheading a JAI soldier over the weekend captured during the battles for Tel Dakwa east of Damascus in early March.
In a video recording circulated by opposition activists Sunday, IS fighters are seen denying the JAI prisoner the right to prayer before beheading him.
In related news, Jaish al-Islam (JAI) captured strategic slice of desert in the far east Damascus countryside from the Islamic State Monday, the latest in a series of reciprocal attacks between the two rebel groups east of Damascus, reported pro-opposition Sham News Network.
The report “is true,” JAI spokesman Islam Aloush told Syria Direct Tuesday, adding that IS had previously captured a number of JAI fighters from the same area, Bir Mahroutha. It was not immediately clear whether the captured territory is inhabited.
JAI’s decision to take IS soldiers captive could be used in a prisoner exchange, a citizen journalist close to JAI who asked to remain anonymous told Syria Direct Tuesday.
Abu Aisha a-Tunisi, IS emir in al-Hasakah killed by JAI. Photo courtesy of @haezom.
YPG setback in Al-Hasakah
The Islamic State captured a village and hill from the YPG in the western Al-Hasakah countryside, with dozens on both sides killed as the YPG fled, reported pro-opposition Sham News Agency on Tuesday.
“By capturing Tel Khinzir, IS aims to cut off YPG units in the east from Tel Abyad,” Raman Al-Yusuf, a Kurdish activist in Al-Hasakah, told Syria Direct on Tuesday. The YPG has withdrawn to about 2.5km to the east, he added.
Tel Abyad, a town on the Syrian-Turkish border under IS control since last summer, links Kurdish communities in the north Hasakah and Aleppo countrysides, serving as a way station for guns, food, medicine and fighters entering Syria from Turkey. All of which makes IS and YPG forces both covet the small border town and its sister to the east Tel Khinzir.
As of publishing, clashes between IS and YPG at Tel Khinzir are ongoing, reported the Hawar Kurdish News Agency on Tuesday.
Dozens escape IS prison in Aleppo
Several dozen inmates escaped from an Islamic State (IS) prison in the town of al-Bab in the north Aleppo countryside on Monday, reported the pro-opposition Halab Today news outlet.
The prison break occurred when a group of “revolutionaries” operating near the city launched an attack on the facility, the agency reported, with IS fighters killing and re-arresting some of those attempting to escape, according to the report.
The number of escapees totaled between 90 and 95, including 30 fighters from various armed factions including the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), and rebel and Islamist brigades, reported the pro-opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Tuesday. The rest were allegedly civilians in prison for committing crimes.
“The inmates took advantage of divisions within the ranks of the IS prison guards that arose over the recent killing of Amr al-Tum, a Jaish al-Islam fighter whom IS fighters kidnapped and beheaded,” Khalil al-Halabi, a civil activist based in the village of al-Bab, told Syria Direct on Tuesday.
“One of the guards who opposed the beheading helped the inmates break out,” he said. “A group of revolutionaries stationed outside the prison helped fight off IS guards and secure the prisoner’s escape,” al-Halabi added.
Syria Direct could not independently confirm the authenticity of these claims.
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