People in Kobani are fearful of ISIS resurgence
Locals in the Syrian Kurdish city of Kobani voice fears of a possible return by the Islamic State (ISIS) to the region after its sleeper cells attacked a security center held by the Internal Security Forces of North and East Syria (Asayish) in the city of Raqqa on December 26 in which two fighters of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and four members of the Asayish were killed, according to a statement released by Asayish.

This sudden attack by ISIS sleeper cells sparked locals’ fears that the group could emerge at any time. In this case, it would pose a threat to the whole region.

Muhammad does not conceal his fears of a return by the Islamic State (ISIS) to his city which could result in calamities as the radical group could avenge its previous defeat in the city.

The man still well remembers how the extremist group came to the city under the cover of the night after it was defeated and committed a massacre claiming nearly 300 lives including his brother and seven of his relatives.

Muhammad Mahmoud Ja’far, 55, whose brother was killed in the ISIS-committed massacre of June 25, 2015, said in case the group resurges in Deir ez-Zor and Raqqa, Kobani would be its next destination for “retaliation.”

People of Kobani have a former experience with the radical group when its fighters under the cover of night killed 253 individuals and injured some 273 others, mostly women, children and elderly. That day has been dubbed as the “Night of Treachery.”

However, Ja’far is not a single case, as since December 26 this perception has become a prevailing one in the city of Kobani and its countryside.

Amina Mustafa Gelo, 40, whose husband was killed in that massacre of 2015 shared the same vision.

Among other Kobani people, Gelo voiced her fears of a potential ISIS return to commit crimes against the people of the region.

Gelo said the return of ISIS sleeper cells in the city of Raqqa has been an issue of grave concern for the people of the region, especially in Kobani where the radical group was defeated.

Gelo said her husband, Muhammad Boze, 47, and her brother Izzaddin Mustafa Gelo, 43, in addition to 50 civilians in their neighborhood were killed at the hands of the group on that day of June 2015.

Gelo said it is the responsibility of the international community to put an end to ISIS to make people live in peace and security and return home.

In a relevant issue, in a bid to deal with the increasing ISIS activities, the SDF announced on December 29 Operation “al- Jazeera Thunderbolt” in the countryside of Hasakah and Qamishli, northeast Syria, to pursue sleeper cells of the extremist organization.

Since that date up to the seventh day, some 145 ISIS militants of sleeper cells have been captured by the SDF and partnered troops.

Mustafa Aloush, 70, a citizen from Kobani said the re-appearance of ISIS sleeper cells in the city of Raqqa, which previously was its self-proclaimed capital, “aims at reviving the organization anew and to take revenge.”

 “If the group has the power to release its detainees of foreign and European nationalities, that could pose a threat to the whole world; that should not be disregarded,” Aloush said.

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