ISIS escalated attacks in Syria in recent weeks at the same time as the US occupation army has reinforced its presence under the alleged aim of ‘combating’ the extremist group
ISIS militants killed ten Syrian soldiers on the evening of 7 August in Raqqa Governorate in northern Syria, according to reports from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR).
The attack targeted military checkpoints of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and local allied fighters in the town of Maadan Ateeq in the eastern countryside of Raqqa. The ISIS fighters also set fire to military vehicles and prefabricated houses before they withdrew from the area.
ISIS has escalated its attacks on Syrian government targets in recent weeks.
On 1 August, ISIS militants attacked a convoy of oil tankers guarded by the SAA in the Syrian desert, killing seven people, including two civilians, the SOHR reported.
The attackers used machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades, said the Britain-based monitor, which relies on a vast network of sources inside Syria.
In late July, ISIS also claimed responsibility for a bombing in Damascus that killed at least six people near the capital’s Sayyida Zeinab shrine, Syria’s most visited Shia pilgrimage site.
The uptick in violence comes despite the killing of the most recent ISIS leader, Abu al-Hussein al-Husseini al-Qurayshi, who headed the extremist organization only since November.
ISIS spokesman Abu Huthaifa al-Ansari said Qurayshi was killed on 3 August in Syria’s Idlib Governorate by another Al-Qaeda affiliated group, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), and that Abu Hafs al-Hashemi al-Qurayshi was named as the group’s new leader.
Furthermore, this ISIS resurgence coincides with the US significantly reinforcing its illegal bases inside occupied oil fields in Syria’s northeast to counter possible coordinated attacks from the SAA, Iran, and Russia.
ISIS gained a foothold in Syria after US officials released the leadership of the extremist organization from Bucca prison in Iraq in 2009 and 2010. Militants then traveled to Syria to launch a covert war against Damascus sponsored by the US, UK, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkiye. To spark the war, ISIS fighters attacked Syrian security forces under the cover of anti-government protests.
Though US officials claim they occupy Syria’s northeast to prevent the return of ISIS, Syria analyst Jennifer Cafarella of the Institute for the Study of War noted another reason in 2017, stating, “Whether Washington chooses to admit it or not, the US now has direct influence over the vast majority of Syria’s most productive oil fields,” and that the territorial gains of proxy militias “are Syrian national treasures that when added up amount to brute geopolitical power for the US.”
Syria also faces regular attacks from the Israeli air force, which this week carried out airstrikes, killing four Syrian soldiers and wounding four others.
Israel has carried out hundreds of airstrikes on Syrian government targets since the start of the US-led covert war on Syria in 2011. US, Western, Gulf, Turkish, and Israeli intelligence agencies cooperated to support extremist militants affiliated with Al-Qaeda to topple the Syrian government. Israeli airstrikes have targeted the SAA and pro-Iran forces, such as Hezbollah, sometimes in direct support of Al-Qaeda militants.