Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Syria: Commander in Deir Ezzor Says Iran-Backed Sleeper Cells Seek Instability

Syria: Commander in Deir Ezzor Says Iran-Backed Sleeper Cells Seek Instability

Thursday, 27 August, 2020 - 08:30
The entrance to the Syrian town of Baghouz

Terrorist sleeper cells, which are backed by Iranian militias and receive instructions from Syrian regime forces in Deir Ezzor province, seek to destabilize the area, a security official said.

Bashar al-Saab, a commander in the Internal Security Forces of Deir Ezzor Civil Council, said “the cells affiliated with Iranian militias receive orders from the regime and carry out terrorist acts, including assassinations, bombings, and threats against prominent figures, tribal sheikhs and employees in the civil council.”

He stated that his forces have foiled attempts to carry out similar crimes, and arrested several suspects.

His forces are searching for further suspects amid ongoing investigations into the plots, he noted, adding that most of the employees and security personnel working in the Civil Council are from Deir Ezzor.

Press leaks have recently revealed that Iranian commanders met with a number of tribal sheikhs in Aleppo last week in an attempt to form a tribal army to fight the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and expel them from Deir Ezzor’s eastern countryside.

Saab’s statements come in light of the deteriorating security situation in eastern Syria.

On Wednesday, the headquarters of the Civil Council in Baghouz town, in Deir Ezzor’s eastern countryside, was attacked by unidentified gunmen, who threw a grenade, wounding the building’s guard and causing severe material damage.

The attack was the second of its kind after unidentified gunmen on motorcycles launched an armed attack on the Civil Council in Busayrah earlier this week, forcing employees to close it.

A booby-trapped motorcycle also exploded on Sunday near Dar al-Shifa hospital in Hajin city in Deir Ezzor countryside, injuring the president of the People’s Assembly.

Unidentified gunmen have also killed three prominent Arab tribal leaders in Deir Ezzor’s eastern countryside, the most recent of which was the assassination of Sheikh Mutashar Jadaan al-Hafil and his driver.

In early August, unknown gunmen launched an attack on an SDF-affiliated self-defense military post in Jadid Akidat.

Following these incidents, dozens of Deir Ezzor residents took to the streets to protest the deteriorating security situation and demand the release of dozens of detainees held by the SDF.

Editor Picks