Five Islamic State (IS) fighters in a central Raqqa neighborhood were discovered dead on Wednesday, shot down by assailants who left no trace of their identities, Hamoud al-Mousa, a member of the Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently media campaign, told Syria Direct on Thursday.
The dead are mostly foreign fighters, al-Mousa said, adding that they were “part of IS’s internal security branch.” The five were shot to death outside the al-Lazord Hotel, “a place usually reserved for IS foreign fighters.”
As five dead bodies could not have remained undiscovered in busy downtown Raqqa for long, “the assassination probably took place the same morning the bodies turned up,” the activist said. The killers likely fired silenced weapons, as no one in the area around the hotel reported hearing gunshots to RBSS.
A-Raqqa is on high alert following the attack, with IS setting up a security cordon around the a-Thekna district. Although firearm silencers are generally not difficult to acquire or even manufacture in a do-it-yourself workshop, silenced weapons are new in A-Raqqa.
Syria Direct contacted several sources inside A-Raqqa city who corroborated the assassinations. They asked to remain anonymous.
This week, five Islamic State fighters were also killed in Deir e-Zor, with their bodies dumped near the provincial capital after several months without any such incident, the director of Deir e-Zor is being Slaughtered Silently told Syria Direct earlier this week.
“Every week there would be more than one assassination, but then in January of this year the Islamic State executed approximately 120 individuals accused of forming anti-IS groups, which led to a temporary end to the killings,” said Mujahid a-Shami. “However, the assassination operations against IS have become active again.”
A-Shami is referring to last year’s killings of Islamic State fighters in Deir e-Zor carried out by an anonymous group that residents called the White Shroud.
The operation echoes a similar string of assassinations in A-Raqqa targeting the Islamic State in early February of this year.