A rights group said that the bloody attacks that took place in the Suwayda province in July bore the hallmarks of the Assad regime which facilitated the attacks with the aim of regaining control of the province.
In a new report published on Tuesday, the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) pointed out that these attacks involved the Assad regime’s use of the ISIS extremist group to carry out the attacks against the people of the region.
The Network indicated the primary goal of the July attacks was to intimidate people of the province into seeking protection from the Assad regime, thereby allowing it to regain control of the region. The attack was also aimed at putting pressure on the Druze community to send the thousands of draft dodgers to fight alongside Assad forces.
According to the report ‘The Brutal Attacks on Suwayda Province: Between the Assad Regime and ISIS’s Terror,’ the attacks claimed the lives of at least 154 civilians, including 15 children and 19 women.
Suweida province was the scene of a string of deadly attacks by the ISIS extremist group on July 25, 2018. The Network said that the attacks, which occurred between 5 and 7 PM on June 25, began with ISIS suicide bombers detonating their explosive belts in several parts of Suweida city. The blast killed at least 24 civilians, including two women, and injured over 50 others.
Meanwhile, ISIS militants stormed eight villages to the east and northeast of Suwaida, namely the villages of Al-Shabki, Al-Matouna, Al-Swaimra, Al-Shuraihi, Gheida Hamayel, Douma, Tarba, and Rami. ISIS militants broke into civilian homes and killed residents with knives and guns, the monitoring group added.
The Network held the Assad regime responsible as it facilitated the attacks, noting that ISIS did not assume responsibility for the attacks and the subsequent executions and hostage-taking as it did with the explosions it previously carried out in the city.
The Syrian Coalition earlier said that the attacks were aimed at intimidating the local population of Suwaida, adding that the only beneficiary from these attacks is the Assad regime. It cited several international reports confirming the existence of deals between the Assad regime and ISIS.
Activists in Suwaida said that the ISIS extremist group is still refusing to negotiate the release of the hostages in its custody. It has already executed two hostages, which proves it is seeking to terrorize the local population and nothing else. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)