The second phase of Operation Terrorism Deterrence, which the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) launched Friday (July 17th) and concluded Monday, has charted some significant successes, an SDF officer said.
The campaign, aimed at hunting down "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) remnants and sleeper cells in Deir Ezzor province, followed the successful conclusion of the first phase of Operation Terrorism Deterrence in June.
During the first phase, security forces cleared 56 ISIS sites and arrested 110 members of the group during a sweep in Deir Ezzor and al-Hasakeh provinces.
During the second phase, security forces arrested dozens of ISIS elements and seized large quantities of explosives and weapons, SDF officer Farhad Khoja told Diyaruna.
The second phase was staged in several areas of eastern and northern rural Deir Ezzor, he said, where civilians had reported the presence of ISIS cells.
It was launched in response to urgent demands from the people of the region and tribal leaders and elders, he added.
The SDF carried out the raids and round-up operations in co-ordination with the Syrian Kurdish Anti-Terror Forces Command (HAT) and with air and intelligence support from the international coalition, Khoja said.
ISIS 'emir' arrested
The campaign focused on al-Busayra and al-Shheel in eastern rural Deir Ezzor, where security forces arrested an Iraqi ISIS "emir" known as Abu al-Waleed, Khoja said.
Six other ISIS elements were arrested alongside Abu al-Waleed, along with dozens of suspects, he added, and security forces seized large quantities of weapons and ammunition.
The biggest prize, however, was the arrest of nine members of an ISIS sleeper cell who had carried out a number of assassinations and planted improvised explosive devices (IEDS), he said.
Security forces seized weapons and ammunition found in the possession of the cell members, including silencers, machine guns, IEDs and materials used in their manufacture, Khoja said.
Other towns in eastern rural Deir Ezzor included in the search operations were al-Jerzi, al-Sab, al-Zirr and Dhiban, he said, where an ISIS warehouse containing 1,000 mortar shells was discovered.
The SDF sent significant security reinforcements to al-Shheel, where they set up a large number of checkpoints and security posts and imposed a curfew, he said.
This move was designed to prevent any sleeper cell members from attempting to escape from the area, Khoja said.