Islamic State to control last stronghold of Syria rebels in Deir ez-Zor

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Member of IS waving the group's flag. File photo

ARA News

Deir ez-Zor, Syria – After al-Qaeda splinter group of the Islamic State (IS) seized the town of Jerzri, Shannan and Swaidan in the eastern countryside of Syria’s Deir ez-Zour, IS militants advanced towards al-Shaitat area, which includes the towns of Abu Hammam, al-Kishkiya and Gharanij.

Sources in Shaitat told ARA News that that fierce clashes broke out in the area between militants of the Islamic state and armed members of Shaitat clan, “who tried to defend civilians against IS extremists”.

“The ongoing clashes left many dead and wounded on both sides, while several IS members were captured by Shaitat clan, including Abu Jelbib, a Sharia jurge who was accompanying IS during the clashes, media activist Samer Khilewi told ARA News in Deir ez-Zor.

Khilewi pointed to the importance of the region for the IS group, saying: “This is the only area of Deir ez-Zor out of IS control.  It contains oil well, which increased its importance.”

“However, if anti-IS rebels in Shaitat remain without reinforcement and support by other rebel groups, the Islamic State militants will control it sooner or later, similar to what happened in al-Bu Kamal and Deir ez-Zor cities,” Khilewi told ARA News.

“What is happening now in al-Shaitat area happened before in the city of al-Bu Kamal, when IS militants tried to enter the city but were defeated by the rebels, but because of the lack of support for the rebels, IS was able to bring heavy weapons from Iraq, and stormed into the city,” he said.

 

Reporting by: Adam Saleh

Source: ARA News

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