Key Facts:

  • Despite attack rates having decreased 40% since December (84, 50), ISIS and other sleeper-cell groups claimed 32 deaths – an increase of 78% compared to December.
  • Increased targeting of Mukhtars (village elders) and council members resulted in 11 confirmed deaths and 2 injuries.
  • 74% of January’s attacks were claimed by ISIS, 13 remaining unclaimed.
  • SDF raids and arrests have still not recovered to their rates before the Turkish operation into North and East Syria – 14 raids in January, consistent with what we saw in December, and a 71% decrease when compared to September (48 raids), the month prior to the invasion.

2020 began with a decrease in sleeper-cell attacks, as only 50 attacks were recorded. This is the first time we have seen attack rates this low since September, the month prior to the Turkish attack which began 9 October 2019. While attacks were low this January, fatalities have increased to 32, a 78% increase. This month at least 13 of the targeted individuals were Mukhtars (villages elders) or people connected to the Autonomous Administration or the SDF. This resulted in 11 deaths and 2 people receiving severe injuries.

Remaining consistent to the previous month, the majority of attacks took place in the region of Deir-ez-Zor (40), 1 in Manbij, 4 in Raqqa, and 5 in the Heseke/ Jazirah region. ISIS claimed 37 (74%) of the incidents in January.

Compared to December, raids and arrests in January saw little change with 13 recorded raids, and 12 arrests in December, and 14 raids and 15 arrests in January.

Robin Fleming, Rojava Information Center researcher, analyzes the beginning of 2020:

“In January the rate of attacks is close to what we saw in September of 2019, prior to the Turkish operation in North and East Syria, with 50 attacks. Nonetheless, the stability and progress seen before the invasion is yet to return to the region, with claimed deaths having increased and raids and arrests still remaining low.

It remains to be seen when and if the joint SDF and Coalition raids will again reach their previous frequency: it is clear that this can only be achieved if external factors allow the SDF to focus on dealing with the internal threats it faces, that is, if tensions between Turkey and the Autonomous Administration don’t escalate again.”

Find below a list of the names of killed and injured village elders, council members and Autonomous Administration individuals who were targeted in January of 2020.

Mahmoud Bassam Al-Fawaz                                       
Farhan al-Khalouf al-Yasin
Jumaa al-Rakkad
Rami Khaled al Hamad
Ali Madloul al-Mazer
Abdul Karim Rajab al-Taleb
Muhammad Saeed al-Madad
Ayman al-Arab
Khalif al-Jamil
al-Abdullah al-Rufeish
Muhammad Hussein al-Atesh (injured)
Uwaid al-Naira (injured)
Mamoun al Turak (SDF)
Fahd Khalil al-Ajaj (SDF)

Please contact us for 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.

Get in touch if you have any questions or are interested in covering the database.

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