• Sleeper cell attacks in Jazirah Region double to 30, more than in any month to date
  • 9 attacks in city of Hasakah alone: other attacks strike Qamishlo, Sere Kaniye and other high-profile settlements far from ISIS’ original strongholds
  • Increase in attacks by other Turkish-linked cells including Ahrar al-Shaab, seeking to destabilize region prior to threatened Turkish invasion
  • Slight decrease in ISIS-claimed attacks across NE Syria (down 17% to 58) but increase in attacks by Turkish-backed cells mean no change in overall threat level (down 4% to 82)

The security situation has continued to improve in Manbij (no attacks, only one IED deactivated), Raqqa (2 attacks, both claimed by Ahrar al-Shaab). Deir-ez-Zor has seen a continued steady decrease in attacks  (48 attacks, down from 55) as widespread SDF raids continue in the area, though it still experiences daily violence, including SVBIED and car- and motor-bike bombings as well as assassinations and frontal assaults on checkpoints.

However, there have been an increase of attacks in Jazirah, the Kurdish-majority region encompassing Qamishlo, Hasakah, Sere Kaniye and other major cities. These have included car bombs in all three cities, and seven motorcycle bombings across the region.

These attacks have included ISIS-claimed attacks and those claimed by a cell or group of cells known as Harakat Ahara al-Shaab, understood to be linked to Turkish intelligence due to its frequent repetition of Turkish propaganda lines via its media channels. Other attacks have gone unclaimed.

Rojava Information Center researcher Joan Garcia said:

“The spread of sleeper-cell attacks across the region shows that ISIS is looking to reach beyond its original strongholds in Deir-ez-Zor and Raqqa. By attacking major cities nearer the Turkish border which have previously enjoyed relative security following their liberation by the Syrian Democratic Forces, they demonstrate their continued reach.

ISIS-claimed attacks are compounded by attacks by other sleeper cell groups, linked to the Turkish intelligence services. Meanwhile, Turkey’s continued threats and cross-border attacks against North East Syria are developing into a final assault east of the Euphrates. Increasingly frequent sleeper-cell attacksare intended to prevent co-operation between co-existing peoples in North East Syria, destabilise infrastructure and shatter the fragile peace in the region, paving the way for the expected Turkish invasion.”

Please find attached the fully-sourced data-set sortable by incident type and location, live map showing all ISIS and other sleeper cell attacks since the start of the year, and further analysis. This data was produced in collaboration with OSINT researcher Caki, and can be explored on the live map here

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