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What’s Behind the Wave of ISIS Assassinations in Deir-ez-Zor?

Observers expect targeted killings of Islamic State members to continue throughout the eastern province as ISIS' power wanes and locals seek to enact revenge for atrocities carried out by the group and its associates, opposition outlet Alsouria writes
What’s Behind the Wave of ISIS Assassinations in Deir-ez-Zor?

Information from the areas under Islamic State (ISIS) control in the Deir-ez-Zor province has confirmed reports of a wave of assassinations targeting members of the group.

Activists on social media said the number of executions carried out by ISIS in the city of Abu Kamal east of Deir-ez-Zor and in other cities and towns inside the province had increased, amid accusations of betrayal and working with the enemies of the group.

The Deir-ez-Zor Media Office said that an assassinations on Tuesday involved a number of women, reporting that an Iraqi woman was killed by gunshot in the green belt area on the outskirts of the the southern city of Abu Kamal. It added that the deceased was likely the wife of the deputy “Euphrates governor.”

This issue has encouraged a number of pages and networks concerned with the province’s affairs to shine a light on the incidents, with the Sons of Deir-ez-Zor Forum site saying: “The news coming out of the province indicates a weakening of ISIS' power, accompanied by an increase in assassinations which have hit group members in various parts of the province.”

It added that a number of observers expected “these assassinations to increase and may develop into liberation movements, expecting a lack of popular support for the group in the province and a state of resentment harbored by the residents because of the group’s practices throughout its time in power in the area.”

The opposition page continued: “The wish of a large number of residents for revenge against the group is rooted in the group's execution of individuals from these tribes, and there have even been cases of mass killings, forced displacement and confiscation of property.”

It concluded its view of this issue by saying: “The days of the organization in the province will not last, and people of the province may precede all the other parties that are trying to expel the group from the province.”

The journalist Ahmad Yassawi, a resident of Deir-ez-Zor, told Alsouria Net that “by following the available news, it’s become clear that ISIS is suffering a great deal and living through hard days. All the fronts are active, whether with the regime or with the Kurdish militias on the outskirts of Hassakeh or even in the Abu Kamal desert.”

“Most importantly, there are high-quality operations being carried out by the coalition and some agents from among the commanders are being removed. Even some important figures in the group are being arrested,” Yassawi said.

The journalist believed that all of these events had confirmed to residents that ISIS was undergoing a “state of chaos, confusion and weakness, and therefore some assassinations of their cadres have begun to appear without the group taking any action, as had happened recently.”

Yassawi stressed that the organization “does not have a popular base and the people of the region will seek revenge on the group which abused their brothers and sons monstrously, most prominently with the massacres of Shayrat and the massacre of Abu Kamal, and the execution of a number of leaders and journalists involved in the revolution in the city.”

He said these incidents are still felt by the people of the region and that they are waiting for the “right moment to pounce” on the group.

“I believe that if the coalition's military operations start to escalate, we will see a major collapse of the basic structure of the group, and events could proceed as no on is expecting,” he added.

This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.

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