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The Cradle
Syrian army eliminates influential ISIS commanders in Deraa
Syrian security forces neutralized several notorious ISIS commanders who led anti-government efforts from the now-liberated Yarmouk refugee camp
By News Desk - August 16 2022
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(Photo credit: SANA)

The Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) announced on 15 August the end of a successful an anti-terror operation in the city of Tafas in the northwestern countryside of Deraa governorate.

This operation reportedly led to the death of an infamous local ISIS commander identified as Mahmoud Ahmad al-Hallaq.

Al-Hallaq was “the former leader of the military wing of ISIS in Yarmouk and the official who managed their training camps,” a security official told SANA.

Yarmouk is a 2.11-square-kilometer district in the capital city of Damascus which hosts tens of thousands of Palestinian refugees, making it one of three unofficial refugee camps in Syria.

Al-Hallaq worked with Abu Salem al-Iraqi and Abdul Rahman al-Iraqi, two ISIS commanders who arrived from Iraq during the rise of the caliphate in Syria.

On 11 August, Syrian state media announced that “the competent security authorities started a qualitative security operation” to eliminate the threat of ISIS in southern Syria.

Abu Salem al-Iraqi, the leader of the terrorist organization in the southern sector, was killed in the town of Adwan in the western countryside of Deraa.

Al-Iraqi eluded arrest by detonating his suicide belt, killing a local militiaman identified as Yahya Muhammad, and injuring a civilian he took hostage during the gunfight.

According to local reporters, Al-Iraqi is a former security official from ISIS in Yarmouk camp and is responsible for the assassinations that took place in the enclave between 2014 and 2015.

Additionally, he is accused of assassinating Yahya Hourani, an influential aid worker at the Palestine Aid Organization stationed in the camp.

The operation was carried out by the 8th Brigade in the Syrian Arab Army’s (SAA) 5th Corps.

The brigade constitutes of ex-Syrian rebels from the town of Deraa governorate who reconciled thanks to a Russian-brokered deal to surrender the region back to Damascus in exchange for being reintegrated into Syrian society

The ex-rebels were integrated into the newly formed and Russian-funded 5th corps that operated in several battles against both ISIS and militant groups fighting Damascus.

Since the implementation of the reconciliation agreements last year, Deraa has been witness to dozens of targeted assassinations against government officials and former rebels who backed the peace process.

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