The US military said on Sunday that its Syrian allies thwarted an attack by the Islamic State (IS). The group is seeing a resurgence and has carried out numerous attacks in Syria in the last few months.
The US Central Command (CENTCOM) said the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) killed two IS suicide bombers in Hasakah in the northeast. The SDF ambushed the would-be bombers before they were able to detonate their explosives, CENTCOM said in a tweet.
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US forces and Syrian Democratic Forces are exploiting the information from the explosives and material for follow-on raids against ISIS.
CENTCOM is committed to the enduring defeat of ISIS alongside our partners in Iraq and Syria.
— U.S. Central Command (@CENTCOM) April 2, 2023
The SDF did not appear to comment on the incident.
Background: IS lost its formal territory in Syria in 2019, but remains active in the country. IS has a particularly strong presence in the vast desert region known as the Badia in central and eastern Syria. The United States continues to back the Kurdish-led SDF in its fight against IS.
Why it matters: Syria has been experiencing a resurgence of IS attacks in the past few months. Al-Monitor contributor Khaled al-Khateb reported from Aleppo in October on the IS bombing businesses in northeast Syria in demand of money, for example.
The following is a list of notable attacks in Syria that have been attributed to IS in 2023:
- Feb. 17: IS killed 53 people who were collecting truffles east of Homs in central Syria, the official SANA news outlet reported.
- March 9: IS killed three people and stole hundreds of sheep east of Hama in central Syria, SANA and the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.
- March 23: IS killed 15 people who were collecting truffles via a knife attack, according to the observatory.
The United States maintains a small military presence in Syria that is aimed primarily at targeting IS and boosting the SDF.