The "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) is emptying residences occupied by internally displaced people (IDPs) in the Syrian cities of al-Mayadeen and Albu-Kamal to house its elements who fled Iraq's Mosul with their families.
This has gravely exacerbated the suffering of Syrian IDPs, activists told Diyaruna.
Iraqi forces declared their victory over ISIS in Mosul on July 10th after a months-long military campaign that saw many of the group's fighters flee towards Syria.
Deir Ezzor, in eastern Syria, remains largely under ISIS control even as the group is losing territory elsewhere in the country and in neighbouring Iraq.
"ISIS security units in the cities of al-Mayadeen and Albu Kamal in Deir Ezzor are emptying residences occupied by IDPs who were displaced from all parts of Syria to house ISIS fighters who fled Mosul with their families," said Mahmoud Nader, an activist with the Deir Ezzor Under Fire media campaign that documents ISIL abuses in the region.
The group's elements have also seized a large number of residences whose owners are outside Syria, he told Diyaruna.
Nader said it is difficult to ascertain the number of elements who arrived from Mosul as they turn up intermittently and their movements are shrouded in secrecy.
"However, some of the larger multi-story residences are occupied by more than one [ISIS] family," he said.
IDPs left to fend for themselves
IDPs are now left homeless once again "with no other alternative in the city", Nader said.
Most are heading to the camps for displaced that were set up in the region, or are sharing houses that can barely fit two families with four or five other families, he added.
Their main concern is to find a roof to shelter their children, he said.
"They share food and water to endure as long as possible until an alternative can be found," he added.
Deir Ezzor has turned into a "giant military barracks crowded with ISIS elements who have fled from everywhere", Nader said.
In addition to Mosul, ISIS fighters have also been fleeing al-Raqa to Deir Ezzor with their families, he explained.
"The group also has moved its warehouses and main headquarters from al-Raqa to Deir Ezzor in the past period," he said.