Counter Messaging Life under Daesh

Local Resistance and Daesh Incompetence

Daesh suffers string of assassinations in Tabqa City, Dayr al-Zawr.

On 24 February, in the eastern suburbs of Tabqa City, unknown parties attacked and killed a Daesh fighter with a silenced pistol. Similarly, on 21 February, Albu Kamal (130 km southeast of Dayr al-Zawr City) erupted into a security frenzy when local shop keeps in a market discovered the bodies of two Daesh fighters, who had apparently been killed with a firearm.In each case, Daesh began to raid local homes, arresting young men suspected of involvement in the incident. Despite the very public site of their dumping, the bodies were not discovered until the morning, raising the possibility that a silencer was also used in this instance. Anti-Daesh assassins have used silencers before, but the continued use of silencers, even crude ones, signifies a level of sophistication and planning on the part of the perpetrators. Should those attacking Daesh fighters continue to use silencers in conjunction with nighttime attacks on lone fighters, the threat of assassination may become a greater concern for Daesh fighters, who may be forced to adjust their movements.

Incompetent Daesh police accidentally kill civilian with “warning shot”. On 25 February, a Daesh patrol near the city of Ma’dan (70 km east-southeast of Raqqa City) attempted to arrest a resident who had gone fishing in the Euphrates River, accidentally killing him.  While fishing has been off-limits for some time, the official punishment is a fine. The patrol was merely attempting to frighten the resident with a warning shot. Aside from proving the incompetence of a certain segment of Daesh fighters, these and similar incidents subvert Daesh’s narrative that it alone provides justice for local Sunni Arab populations.

Internet shutdown in Albu Kamal following assassinations. On 25 February, Daesh shut down the internet in Albu Kamal (130 km southeast of Dayr al-Zawr City) as a reprisal for the earlier assassination of two Daesh fighters in the town (see above).  Daesh began by raiding all of the town’s internet cafes, ejecting its customers, and informing owners that they must close down their establishments. Announcing it will only allow these cafes to reopen once the assassins were found, Daesh is attempting to leverage collective punishment as a new investigatory aid. Time will tell whether Daesh will ever successfully apprehend the real assassin(s), leaving open the possibility of unfounded accusations and purges.

Home Confiscations Continue in Taqba City. Throughout the last week, the Daesh administration in Tabqa City has continued to take possession of homes throughout the city, with Hisba policemen ejecting residents from three homes on at least one occasion.  Arguing either that residents are not the original owners of homes or that homeowners or their relatives have left Daesh territory, Daesh routinely confiscates homes in Tabqa City and its outlying areas.