In April, ISIS carried out 55 different military operations marking a slight increase compared to the 44 operations carried out in March 2020. The majority of these operations (34) were carried out in Deir Ez- Zor, while 8 operations were carried out in al-Hasakeh Province, 7 in Daraa and in 3 in Raqqa, 2 in Homs and one in the city of Manbij in the eastern countryside of Aleppo.
ISIS activities have been directed against the regime forces and have resulted in the regime forces incurring great losses, either in terms of the number or rank of those targeted. ISIS killed 54 regime military fighters and injured at least 18 in comparison to 4 regime fighters killed in March 2020.
ISIS forces also carried out assassinations targeting higher ranking regime officers and officials. Its operatives assassinated Brigadier General Hamid Makhlouf, the general staff commander of the 52nd brigade, and Colonel Mahmoud Habib, the organizational chief in the same brigade. In addition to assassinating Salwan al-Jundi, the head of the Ba'ath Party division in the city of Nawa in the western countryside of Daraa.
In addition to the regime casualties, ISIS operations targeted the Syrian Defense Force members. In April 2020, a minimum of 39 SDF fighters were killed with the figure increasing in March to 40 SDF members. In addition, ISIS forces wounded a minimum of 29 SDF members. The organization carried out assassination operating targeting a local council official in the eastern countryside of Deir Ez-Zor as well as attempting to assassinate other officials including the mayor of the town of al-Susah, a sub-district of Hajin in Deir Ez-Zor, ISIS’s focus on targeting SDF forces and their collaborators.
ISIS’s April activities shows the organization’s approach of target regime forces on the roads between Homs and Deir Ez Zor near the second and third stations as well as targeting Iranian militias in the al-Mayadeen Badiyet and the regime’s battalions deployed in that region. These operations were carried out in parallel with the 7 military operations it carried out Daraa that varied in style and results. The activities indicate that ISIS is starting to activate the southwestern Badia sector after stopping for around two months, and that it continues to rely on targeting the regime’s mobile convoys by relying on ambushes and surprise attacks. There is an increase in ISIS using this method deep in regime areas indicates that there is no current plans to concentrate geographically but rather to deplete the regime forces.
ISIS is expected to increase its security operations against the regime in Daraa and its connected desert hinterland as far as Homs and Deir Ez Zor in the east. ISIS is expected to increase its offensive operations against the SDF security points deployed in villages in eastern and northern Deir Ez Zor extending to northern Hasaka and western Raqqa. Organization fighters will move from Its bases in the al-Bishri mountains in the west of the governorate which connects the western parts of the province with the Homs Badia as well as strengthening its points east of Deir Ez Zor with the direct support of its cells in Iraq.