CounterterrorismSecurity & defenceSyriaViolent extremist activity

IS Militants Continue Attacks against Government Opponents & Loyalists – Field Events in Syria

On 5 January 2021, violent incidents continued at the same pace compared to previous days across Syria, especially in and around Idlib in northern Syria and Hama in central Syria. Terrorist IS militants continued their attacks targeting forces loyal to the Syrian government and civilians (opponents and loyalists) in northern, central and eastern Syria.

In northern Syria

Militias and soldiers affiliated with the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) have targeted, with heavy artillery, the towns of Al-Fateera, Kansafra and Kafr Aweid in the southern countryside of Idlib, northern Syria. SAA affiliated fighters also carried out artillery strikes targeting Majdalaya village in the eastern countryside of Idlib, according to local sources.

Syrian military sources reported that on 5 January 2021, an SAA soldier was killed by a sniper near Al-Malaga village, south of Idlib. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack so far. On the same day, three other SAA soldiers were killed in Miznaz town, also in Idlib province. SAA affiliated fighters continued to engage rebels in Jabal Al-Zawiya, in Idlib. Also in northern Syria, local sources reported that a missile launcher installed on a vehicle of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) was destroyed in south of Azaz.

In central Syria

A landmine reportedly left behind pro-government forces had exploded in an SAA military bulldozer Hamamiyat village, north of Hama. No injuries were reported. Also in Hama countryside, IS militants claimed an armed attack targeting oil lorries in Salamiyah’s desert. Local Syrian sources claimed that IS militants had targeted a military convoy loyal to the Syrian Arab Army, killing 7 soldiers and 3 civilians. At the same time, according to Syrian military sources, clashes renewed between SAA forces and IS militants in the Syrian desert (Badia).

According to Syrian local sources, during November and December 2020, IS militants had carried out at least 66 terrorist attacks in Hama, Homs, Qalamoun, Deir Ezzor and Raqqa. During these attacks, 132 individuals loyal to the Syrian government were documented to have been killed.

In eastern Syria

Reports surfaced around tension and mutual arrests in Qamishli between elements loyal to the Syrian government and the SDF. The deputy co-president of the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria, Badran Jia Kurd, said that all Russian efforts to mediate between the Administration and the Damascus government to start negotiations “have not yielded any results.”

Relatedly, in an armed attack targeting a military checkpoint, east of Raqqa, two SDF fighters were killed, while two others were killed by “unknown” individuals in Al-Hol camp, east of Al-Hasakah.

In southern Syria

Opposition and pro-government sources reported that an SAA officer and a soldier were killed in two separate attacks in Daraa. SAA military officer, First Lieutenant Ahmed Mubarak, was assassinated by “unknown individuals” in Daraa Province. Also in southern Syria, an SAA soldier was killed by “unknown individuals” in the Al-Basali area in the Qunaitra countryside, likely both attacks were carried out by IS militants.