3 min read  | Deir e-Zor, Politics, Reef Dimashq

Syria Direct: News Update 3-16-15


March 16, 2015

IS confiscating citizen weapons in Deir e-Zor

The Islamic State demanded on Sunday that families in a rural Deir e-Zor village hand over all rifles and pistols in their possession or pay a sum equivalent to the value of those weapons, reported the pro-opposition grassroots campaign Deir e-Zor is Being Silently Slaughtered.

“IS has been confiscating weapons all throughout Deir e-Zor, not just these towns,” Abu Zeid Abdullah, one of the managers of the online awareness campaign Deir e-Zor Under Fire told Syria Direct on Monday.

“This is done to strike fear into residents and build up a large weapons stockpile,”Abdullah said.

“Those without weapons are forced to pay sums determined by IS, without any justification.”

The news was also reported by the monitoring group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) on Monday.

Also on Sunday, IS demanded that all men in another village in the west Deir e-Zor countryside hand over all personal weapons to IS or face arrest, reported Deir e-Zor is Being Silently Slaughtered Sunday.

Sunday’s confiscations marked the third time IS had collected weapons from Deir e-Zor civilians over the past month.

IS withdraws from Al-Hasakah positions after coalition strikes

Islamic State [IS] fighters retreated from their positions southwest of a YPG-controlled village in Al-Hasakah province on Sunday after the US-led international coalition struck the jihadist group with air strikes the same day, a local journalist told Syria Direct on Monday.

“IS retreated after the coalition bombed [two towns], along with heavy artillery and mortar fire from the regime and YPG,” said Majid Abidi, an independent journalist based near Tel Tamr.

IS’s withdrawal coincided with a YPG attack on a nearby IS-controlled village, also southwest of Tel Tamr, said the local pro-opposition Facebook news page Tel Tamr.

The coalition strikes came in response to IS attempts to seize the town from the YPG last week.

Tel Tamr sits at the crossroads between highways that lead to A-Raqqa and Aleppo, Al-Hasakah city, the YPG-controlled town of Ras al-Ain on the Turkish border and the Kurdish city of Qamishli, making it a crucial node in controlling the province. 

The fight between the YPG and the regime on one side and IS on the other for control of Al-Hasakah has escalated over the past month as all parties aim for control of some 250 villages scattered throughout the province.

Tel Tamr YPG fighters plan their attack against IS in Al-Hasakah on Sunday. Photo courtesy of Girê Xurma.

Rebels fight off Islamic State encroachment in north Aleppo

Al-Jabha a-Shamiya drove back an IS assault and captured Qaramil, a village 13km northeast of Aleppo in the no man’s land between IS and rebel-held territories, temporarily frustrating IS’s attempt to enter the battle for north Aleppo, a local photographer told Syria Direct on Monday.

“Al-Jabha a-Shamiya not only fought off IS, but took Qaramil,” Hussein al-Khitab, an activist and photographer, told Syria Direct on Monday.

IS covets Qaramil, as it lies less than 5km north of regime-held Sheikh Najjar, an industrial zone in north Aleppo under regime control since last May. Capturing the town would put IS closer to the battle for the city, said Syrian journalist Adnan Al-Hussein to Syria Direct.

Al-Jabha a-Shamiya is considered the largest rebel coalition in Aleppo.

IS paid a price for its attempted incursion, losing a number of fighters, tweeted al-Jabha a-Shamiya on Sunday, in addition to a 23mm cannon, reported News Al-Iraq on Monday.

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