The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) embarked on numerous raids and arrested dozens of people in its control areas in Deir ez-Zor province, located east of the Euphrates River, during the “Deterrence of Terrorism” campaign it first launched on 4 June 2020 against the cells of the Islamic State (IS), aka Daesh.
The reported raids and arrests were spearheaded by the security services of the Autonomous Administration and the SDF, particularly by the Anti-Terror Forces, known as the HAT. Some of these raids were covered by helicopters of the US-led coalition, eyewitnesses claimed.
In the wake of the campaign’s first stage, the SDF announced that it arrested and detained 110 persons on the charge of belonging to IS, in a statement made on 10 June 2020, adding that it also swept large-scale areas in the suburbs of Deir ez-Zor and al-Hasakah provinces. It also arrested and detained other 31 persons during the campaign’s second stage, according to the corresponding statement made on 21 July 2020 that reported the outcomes of the 4-day operation in rural Deir ez-Zor. “At the end of the [campaign’s] second stage, the participant forces managed to achieve the planned goals,” the SDF said, pointing out that it arrested 31 terrorists and suspects, one of whom it described as a high-ranking IS commander.
Contrary to SDF’s reports, as it declared arresting a total of 141 persons over the course of the campaign between 10 June and 21 July 2020, information obtained by JFL and STJ, that are backed by a thorough investigation process, indicates that the SDF arrested no fewer than 339 persons in Deir ez-Zor province alone, from the outset of the first stage of the “Deterrence of Terrorism” campaign on 4 June to late August 2020. Furthermore, the fate of 44 of those detainees is unknown, since 200 persons are already released, while about 90 others are being brought before the court, the field researchers of the two organizations reported, adding that among the persons arrested were a number of teenage boys, who are not yet 18 years old.