3 min read  | Deir e-Zor, Politics, Reports

SYRIA DIRECT: NEWS UPDATE 8-19-2014


August 19, 2014

Deir e-Zor tribe faces ‘genocide’ by IS

The head of the Syrian National Coalition’s press office, Khalid a-Salih, warned Monday that the a-Shaitat tribe in Syria’s oil-rich Deir e-Zor province is facing “genocide” at the hands of the Islamic State (IS) in remarks made to London-based al-Araby al-Jadeed.

The opposition-in-exile’s spokesman called on the international community to defend a-Shaitat as the West has defended Yazidis trapped on Iraq’s Mount Sinjar.

IS boasts on Twitter of “cleansing” Shaitat villages in Deir e-Zor. Photo courtesy of @KhilaFaMedia.

The Coalition’s statement coincided with reporting from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights that IS has executed some 700 members of a-Shaitat, some by decapitation, with an additional 1,800 tribesmen unaccounted for.

Although these numbers could not be verified, pictures of decapitated tribesmen are circulating on social media websites and IS-controlled Twitter handles celebrating the “cleansing” of a-Shaitat.

Also on Saturday, a public letter allegedly written by a-Shaitat tribal leaders in the villages of Abu Hamam and al-Kashkiya—widely circulated on media websites—asked forgiveness from IS Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s, disowning “that corrupt group [from our tribe] who fights against God Almighty’s religion and who betrayed IS soldiers.”

A-Shaitat, which had previously pledged allegiance to IS, broke ranks with the group in late June and took up arms against IS.

The Islamic State released a statement on Sunday claiming that IS fighters had been ambushed by A-Shaitat on the way to arrest tribesmen for selling “cigarettes and banned items.”

FSA fights back in Aleppo

FSA fighters destroyed a regime base in the Salah a-Din neighborhood of Aleppo city Monday, according to pro-opposition network Syria Mubasher, which published video footage purporting to show the attack.

Also on Monday, the regime dropped an unspecified number of barrel bombs on several Aleppo neighborhoods, injuring three civilians. In one notable attack on the Bustan al-Basha neighborhood, a barrel bomb hit and destroyed the primary water line, which supplies most of FSA-held Aleppo, according to pro-opposition network Aksalser.

Meanwhile, in the northern Aleppo countryside on Monday, the Islamic State destroyed the shrine of David in the village of Dawabiq. This attack comes amidst an IS push to capture territory along the Turkish border, which would effectively cut off rebel supply lines to Aleppo province.

Iraqi Army attacks Salah a-Din

The Iraqi Army reportedly launched an offensive Tuesday to regain control of Iraq’s  Salah a-Din province from Islamic State (IS) forces, according to Kurdish news agency Rudaw. 

Salah a-Din has been under IS control since they stormed through northern Iraq in June.

An unnamed Iraqi security source told independent news agency Iraqi Press that they attacked IS in Tikrit, the administrative center of Salah a-Din, in a pincer movement Tuesday.    

“The army forces first began launching rockets and heavy artillery early Tuesday morning from the western front…then attacked from the south,” the source is quoted as saying.  

Tikrit, located 140 kilometers north of Baghdad, is the birthplace of Saddam Hussein.

Meanwhile, the Kurdish Peshmerga reportedly forced out the last of the IS fighters in the Mosul Dam Monday, disarming dozens of improvised explosive devices in the process, according to Al Jazeera.

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