300 meters from ISIS positions in Deir ez-Zor

Positioned only 300 meters away from each other, there is heavy fighting between ISIS gangs and Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Hajin town of Deir ez-Zor.

The Operation Cizire Storm continues for the sixth month since the launch of the campaign on September 9, 2017.

There are two fronts in Operation Cizire Storm. One front is on the northern banks of Euphrates river while the other front is in the deserts of Deir ez-Zor. All of the big villages from Abu Hamam to Xiranice have been cleared of ISIS. In Hajin and Behran areas the ISIS gangs are besieged.

ANF visited the SDF forces in Hajin town, who have besieged the ISIS gangs here for more than 30 days. The town is only accessible at night and only with an armoured vehicle because of the ISIS attacks.

Hajin is like a ghost town. There is no sign of life here. No residents and no light. We stopped in front of a house. Two women fighters welcomed us. “We were expecting for your visit” one of them joked. We spent the night there with a group of fighters.

We woke up with the sound of bullets. I picked up my camera and went to the SDF positions. I was surprised how calm the fighters were. They were shooting at ISIS positions like nothing important was happening.

A group of fighters were forming new trenches during the fight. After about 30 minutes of fighting there was silence.

“This is how we live here. These clashes became a routine for us” a fighter said.

There is only 300 meters between ISIS gangs and SDF positions. The ISIS gangs are constantly attacking SDF positions to break the siege. But all of them are frustrated by SDF fighters.

SDF fighter Hesen said; “We are face to face with ISIS in this town. They launched several attacks until now. But they were all frustrated. We hit them hard. Our operation is going well. We will finish off ISIS here”.

Another fighter Talal tells: “We are here for 37 days and they attacked us six times. We frustrated all the attacks. There are trying every method. But they fail each time. All of the ISIS forces that fled Iraq and other places have gathered here”.  

Talal adds that ISIS are using civilians as human shields and therefore SDF forces are advancing carefully.