The desert between the Iraqi Anbar and Deir Ezzor in Syria became a safe refuge for Daesh members. They launch hit and run attacks in the classic guerrilla-style, causing deaths and injuries in the Syrian and Iraqi armed forces. The fighters of ISIS 2020 are not just orphans of a charismatic leader such as Abu Bakr al Baghdadi. They embody a new phase. Aside from the ambition for global jihad, for now, ISIS is waiting for a new proclamation of the Islamic state to return.
While the world is busy with Covid-19, in Iraq and Syria, they know that the fall of Baghuz in March 2019 did not represent the end of Isis and the idea of a Caliphate for thousands of fighters and sympathizers. After the March break, in which ISIS suspended “operations” due to the pandemic, the raids resumed in April.
In Samarra, in early May, the jihadists with black flags killed at least ten members of the Popular Mobilization Forces, the Iraqi Shiite militia decisive for the defeat of Isis in Anbar and the resumption of the city of Mosul. In Syria, they returned to hit Badiya, the desert area, where, with a mine, they killed four soldiers who traveled by bus in the direction of Deir Ezzor.ISIS has imposed invisible control over Badiya, which allows it to carry out attacks and use the desert to secure weapons and supplies Explained Hassan Abu Hanieh, a researcher and expert on Islamist groups, in an interview with a Syrian channel.
It seems that ISIS wants to regain lost ground, but is in no hurry. The group knows that it has entered a new phase. According to the expert, Isis’s modus operandi has changed, and it will continue to employ guerrilla tactics until the situation on the field offers them new opportunities.The distraction of the Iraqi and Syrian authorities also promotes the recovery of ISIS. Popular protests against bad governance and sectarianism spread in Iraq, which is already a battleground between Iran and the US.
The conflict in Syria was dominated by the clashes, in the western Idlib region, between government and Islamist and Qaedist forces supported by Turkey, which also invaded part of Rojava. These conditions helped the jihadists to create small well-hidden bases, from where they plan traps for military convoys.In Syria, since the beginning of the year, 170 attacks have been recorded on Deir Ezzor and at least 10 in Badiya. Assaults are also multiplying in the Jabal al Bishri area, and towards the strategic Al Sukhna area, between eastern Syria, Homs, and Damascus, where supplies for the army pass. The same happens around the more isolated Iraqi populated cities, while in Mosul, donations are collected for ISIS again.
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