Deir Ezzor – Sound and Picture
International coalition’s strikes on Syria began in September last year, targeting IS positions with air strikes and causing a lot of losses in its ranks, which forced IS to hide and change its headquarters places. The absence of IS members relieved the people, but IS returned and continued harassing civilians as the pace of the bombing of the coalition declined later.
Coalition forces, during the months of September and October of 2014, launched dozens of raids on all that is related to IS, such as oil wells and oil refineries, which are the main financial source for IS. Amount of oil transferred from Syria to Iraq decreased largely as a result that oil amounts became insufficient to cover local needs. The coalition bombed secret and bare headquarters of IS and targeted a lot of IS convoys in its region, forcing IS to change its headquarters and evacuate it of its members and changed the fighters uniform into civilian clothes in order to hide among civilians.
The Incident of Jordanian pilot Kasasbeh plane downing was the tipping point of the old coalition policy, as the Coalition raids later depends on “drawn” planes, increasing errors committed leading to a lot of dead and injured among civilians.
Samer from Albu Kamal said to “Sound and Picture” reporter: “at the beginning of Coalition strikes we did not feel scared to our knowledge that the coalition aircraft strikes is very accurate, but the errors committed by the coalition, which caused a lot of civilian losses, brought to our minds the horrified image of the regime rides. The repeated mistakes of the international coalition have led some to say it’s not mistakes rather that the coalition is no longer cares to the losses occurred in its fight against IS. The Incidents of bombing of Aisha hospital and a civilian house in Albu Kamal city and targeting several civilian places in the province of Raqqa when it was providing an air cover to protect YPG, brought to mind the massacres committed by the regime.”
After the control of YPG over Tal Abiad and its countryside in Raqqa province and the large number of casualties, and the continued progress of IS northward Aleppo and east of Hasaka, Coalition changed its policy in bombing IS, as the number of air raids targeting IS places dropped and started to target IS first-tier leaders. The strikes focused more on the places in which coalition forces believed that key figures exist, such as targeting Junaid Hussein, who is one of the senior hackers in the world, Amer Alrfdan and Amr Moussa Hamidi One of the most important leaders of IS in Iraq, and many others, all of these facts indicate that the coalition began to follow a new strategy in its war against IS.
Abu Hasan, said to “Sound and Picture” reporter: “The increase in the number of successful assassinations carried out by coalition forces against IS leaders was a blow to IS claims of its steadfastness and security, creating suspicions among the members and leaders of IS and led them to doubt everyone. The assassination of Junaid and Kamal Zarrouk one of IS Tunisians leaders didn’t leave a room to doubt of penetration in high levels in the ranks of IS.”
The strategy of assassinations in the ranks of IS revealed IS false allegations and came to undermine confidence in the ranks of IS specially between “immigrants and supporters” and among immigrants themselves.
Abu Hasan also said: “The relationship between the foreign members and Syrian members in the ranks of IS were not good since the beginning of IS operations in Syria. Immigrants consider the Syrians to be Untrustworthy, and what happened recently increased the tension between the members. The two parties started to exchange accusations, as Syrians submit their arguments that the relationship between them and the first-tier leaders who were murdered does not exist and that they do not even know them. In turn, immigrants said that assassination also included Syrian and foreign leaders who supervised the Syrians fighters training camps. “
The new coalition’s policy did not succeed in stopping IS progress on ground, also failed to shift the balance of power on the ground. Despite the deaths of important IS figures , it still the owner of decision, which may force coalition to return to the old policy or create a new one to give opportunity for other forces working on the ground to acquire the reins.