Several killed in suspected ISIL attack on northeast Syria iftar

Gunmen attack a Ramadan iftar gathering in Deir Az Zor, killing seven people.

Map of Deir Az Zor
Map of Deir Az Zor

Suspected ISIL (ISIS) gunmen killed seven people and wounded four others at a Ramadan iftar gathering in Syria’s northeast Deir Az Zor province, according to activists and monitors.

The former spokesperson of the United States-backed, Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, Nouri Hamish, had hosted the iftar dinner, which marks the end of the day’s fasting, at his home in the town of Abu Khashab on Wednesday. He was among those killed, according to Syrian media group, the Euphrates Post.

The attackers arrived on motorcycles and fled after villagers reportedly confronted them.

ISIL has increased its attacks in northeast Syria, after US special forces assassinated then-leader Abu Ibrahim al-Qurayshi and his official spokesperson.

Current ISIL spokesperson Abu Omar al-Muhajir called on ISIL fighters to avenge their deaths on April 17 in an audio message called Vengeance for the Two Sheikhs.

As many as 23 alleged ISIL attacks have targeted northeast Syria over the past 11 days, according to monitoring groups.

In late January, ISIL fighters attacked Ghwayran prison near Hassakeh, also in the northeast, killing at least 120 SDF fighters.

The Britain-based war monitor, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, says ISIL has carried out at least 82 other armed operations in 2022, which have killed 63 civilians and SDF fighters.

SDF officials say ISIL sleeper cells have increasingly mobilised in northeast Syria. The organisation has been resorting to guerilla-style attacks since losing most of its territory in Syria and Iraq in 2019.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies