Syrian Democratic Forces Have to Immediately Allow Trapped People to Flee to their Areas of Control
Since mid-August 2017, Syrian regime forces and their pro-regime militias have managed to hold most of the villages in western and eastern suburbs of Deir Ez-Zour that are located to the west of Euphrates River, effectively ending the siege on al Joura and al Qosour neighborhoods that have been under a siege imposed by ISIS since March 2015. In doing so, Syrian regime forces didn’t take any of the rules of the international humanitarian law into consideration at all, as we documented hundreds of frequent violations on a daily basis, in addition to careless employment of indiscriminate attacks, and deliberate targeting of vital civilian facilities, resulting in the killing of no less than 687 civilians, including 189 children and 123 women. These attacks forced roughly 252,000 people to flee Deir Ez-Zour city as well as the eastern and western suburbs, where most of the people headed for the villages to the east of Euphrates River. We have released a brief report shedding light on the humanitarian conditions the IDPs are living under.
On October 13, 2017, Syrian regime forces took over al Salhiya town – the northern entrance to Deir Ez-Zour and the only exit point that civilians used to flee military operations towards the areas of Deir Ez-Zour suburbs- and trapped the civilians who remained inside – nearly 750 civilians in nine ISIS-held neighborhoods: al Ummal, al Sena’a, al Rsafa, al Matar al Qadim, Kanamat, al Hweiqa, al Aradi, al Sheikh Yasin, and al Hamidiya.
Not only did the siege was tightened on civilians who were barred from fleeing, Syrian regime forces also intensified their heavy airstrikes that killed tens, as we recorded that 22 civilians were killed, including five children, at the hands of the Syrian-Russian alliance between October 13, 2017, and the time of this report.
On November 2, Syrian regime forces have managed to take over 90% of Deir Ez-Zour city, as only the neighborhoods of al Hweiqa and al Rashdiya, as well as Hwayejat Qate’, where civilians are besieged, are under the control of ISIS, as the only option left for these people is to head for the SDF-held Husainiya village. On the 1st and 2nd of November, we recorded that SDF opened fire at Hwayejat Qate’, hindering civilians’ passage, and making them wary of using boats in case they decided to flee the village, fearing that they might be targeted.