November 14, 2018

SDF says it arrested IS leader responsible for killing Raqqa tribal head

Featuring Nicholas Heras

Source: Kurdistan 24

Journalist Wladimir Van Wilgenburg

An official from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on Wednesday announced the arrest of an Islamic State (IS) leader he said was responsible for the recent killing of one of the most prominent tribal leaders in the Syrian city of Raqqa.

“Today, SDF conducted an operation in Raqqah and detained an ISIS (IS) official, this operation was in response to [the] assassination of Sheik [al-Huwaudi],” said Mustafa Bali, Director of the SDF Media Center.

Analysts say they have concerns that IS has placed sleeper cells throughout the Arab-majority, rural areas of eastern Syria. Moreover, IS is thought to be aiming to increase tensions in the northeast of Syria by undermining security in Raqqa.

The murder of a well-known Raqqan tribal leader such as Bashir Faisal al-Huwaidi, who was killed in an assassination attack claimed by IS on Nov. 2, could potentially lead to strained relations between local tribes, the jihadist group’s likely intention.

“As ISIS has shown in Iraq, it has the capability to place agents in areas where its enemies have a strong presence,” Nicholas A. Heras, a Middle East security analyst at the Washington-based Center for a New American Security, told Kurdistan 24.

“The ISIS strategy is clear: it will work hard to deny the SDF the opportunity to build an order to succeed its Caliphate in eastern Syria,” he said.

Read the full article and more in Kurdistan 24.

  • Nicholas Heras

    Fellow, Middle East Security Program

    Nicholas A. Heras is a Fellow at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), working in the Middle East Security Program. He is also a Senior Analyst at the Jamestown Found...