Turkish Drone Strike Targets Syrian Democratic Forces Reinforcements

A vehicle that was carrying fighters from the Tel Tamr Military Council to battle ISIS in Hasakah was struck by a Turkish drone strike, reportedly wounding the fighters inside the vehicle. 

Due to the scale of the ongoing ISIS attack on al-Sina’a Prison in Hasakah, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and Internal Security Forces called for reinforcements from other parts of North and East Syria. The vehicle that was targeted by Turkish forces was on its way to Hasakah as part of the reinforcements when it was attacked.

Remains of the vehicle struck by a Turkish drone, January 2022

At the same time, there have been constant Turkish-backed attacks on the Ayn Issa region, leading to several SDF fighters being killed while repelling these attacks. 

The SDF have been focusing their efforts and an immense amount of resources on the Hasakah attack, as well as further ISIS sleeper cell activity in regions such as Deir-ez-Zor for the past several days. The SDF and Syrian Democratic Council (SDC) have both condemned the Turkish attacks.

Semalka Border Crossing Reopened for Commercial Traffic

After over a month of being closed, the Semalka Border Crossing, located on the border between North and East Syria and the Kurdistan Region of Iraq was reopened to commercial traffic on January 24, 2022. As the only open crossing connecting North and East Syria to the outside world, it is vital for the survival of millions of people in the region, including 1.8 million people who rely on humanitarian aid.

Semalka Border Crossing, June 2021

Since the closure of the al-Yaroubiyah crossing, and the depreciation of the Syrian lira, the economic situation in North and East Syria has become critical. Semalka’s opening allows for humanitarian aid to reach the region, as well as allowing people to cross between NES and the KRI to visit family. 

Image of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF)

ISIS Cells Claim Several Attacks Against the SDF in Deir-ez-Zor

Since January 19, 2022, suspected ISIS cells in Deir-ez-Zor have conducted several attacks against SDF forces in the region. On January 19, the Hajin Military Council announced that one of its fighters was killed and two others were wounded by unknown gunmen. Compared to other towns in the region, Hajin is relatively safe and has not seen any violence in over two months. 

On January 22, 2022, suspected ISIS cells launched two separate attacks against the SDF in eastern Deir-ez-Zor, targeting a checkpoint and a headquarters of the SDF. Two missiles were fired at the al-Omar water station in Diban, according to the SDF. No SDF fighters were wounded in the attack. The attack targeting the checkpoint led to brief clashes but did not lead to any SDF casualties. 

The attacks in Deir-ez-Zor took place at the same time as heavy fighting in the vicinity of al-Sina’a Prison in Hasakah, where ISIS cells have been engaged with the SDF in an attempt to free thousands of ISIS prisoners.