A YAT operator during a SDF ceremony

Key Facts

– 31 attacks causing 26 deaths

– ISIS claimed 29 attacks

– 20 killings in Al Hol Camp

– 13 raids producing 27 arrests

– High profile assassinations that included 2 women of the Shedaddi local council, one judge, and one mayor.

In Depth

January 2021 had 31 separate attacks by sleeper cells, causing 27 deaths. This continues the downward trajectory since the RIC began publishing monthly statistics, but this month saw a high of 20 confirmed killings in Al Hol camp, indicating the deteriorating stability within the camp. ISIS claimed all but 5 attacks in North and East Syria this month. Raids and arrests were documented at 13 and 27 respectively, including a high profile arrest of the “Emir of Assassinations” in the Heseke country side by SDF special forces, YAT, which included the interception of high valued intelligence and communications.

RIC staff researcher Charles Flynn commented:
While the month of January was a rather average month in terms of numbers, the type of attacks in NES showed ISIS is willing to continue to target those affiliated with the AANES and the kidnapping and execution of two women members of the Shedaddi civil council in the Heseke countryside show that women are becoming an increasingly viable target for ISIS. A mayor and a judge were also targeted through home invasions in the Deir Ez Zor region.  

The increase in Al Hol camp murders comes in the same month in which the AANES has continued to lobby for an international response to the humanitarian crisis there, as well as the UN decrying the Al Hol situation, with it representing one of the most pressing dangers to humanity. Although many nations are beginning to repatriate some of their civilians and children affiliated with ISIS, recently Canada, a large majority of the population is native to Syria and Iraq. Iraq continues to drag its feet, unwilling to return its citizens to their home country.

The 20 murders in Al Hol, with ten beheadings, comes as yet another dire warning to the AANES and the international community that new solutions are needed to counter the spreading radicalism and crisis that Al Hol represents.

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.