Two local politicians executed near Hesekê

And again a feminicid against political active women and

Two local politicians were kidnapped and beheaded by unknown persons in north-eastern Syria. The crime pattern points to IS sleeper cells; according to relatives, the two women had already been threatened several times in the name of the jihadist militia.

In the north-eastern Syrian town of Al-Dashisha, south of Hesekê, two local politicians were kidnapped and executed by armed persons. The victims are the co-chair of the civil council of the municipality of Til Sheir, Sada al-Harmoush, and her deputy Hind al-Khedr, who was also responsible for the economy committee. The perpetrators are unclear; the pattern of the crime points to sleeper cells of the jihadist terrorist organisation “Islamic State” (IS).

According to available information, Sada al-Harmoush and Hind al-Khedr were abducted during a raid on their house on Friday and taken to an unknown location. Neighbours observed at least eight heavily armed men who are said to have been involved in the abductions. Only a few hours after the abduction, residents found the decapitated bodies of Harmoush and Khedr on a roadside not far from the centre of Al-Dashisha. Relatives reported that both women had recently been threatened in the name of the so-called IS.

The Cantonment Council of Hesekê strongly condemned the murder of the female politicians. “It is the first deadly attack in a long chain of attacks explicitly targeting women from the autonomous structures,” it said in a statement. Since the crushing of its territorial rule, the IS has been operating from underground and has already carried out dozens of attacks on members of the self-governing structures and representatives of Arab tribes, especially in the greater Deir ez-Zor area. So far, however, the fatalities have been exclusively male. The fact that the activities of the IS cells are now also specifically directed against women is due to the fact that women are a driving factor in the construction of the self-organised society in northern and eastern Syria. “We consider the emancipation of women as an essential prerequisite for the transformation of society. This is the only reason why our project of autonomy administration has succeeded in uniting all peoples under one roof. The attack on Sada al-Harmoush and Hind al-Khedr shows the will of the terrorists to destroy this lived alternative and at the same time to keep the IS alive,” said the cantonal councillor of Hesekê. The authority expresses its sympathy to the relatives of the murdered women.

Targeted operations against IS structures

For months, the Syrian Democratic Forces (QSD) have been carrying out targeted operations against structures of the IS militia, which is reorganising in the shadow of the Turkish attacks against the north-eastern Syrian autonomous region. Just earlier this week, an IS commander was captured during an operation by the YAT counter-terrorism unit near Hesekê. The forty-year-old is responsible for attacks on QSD commanders and other personalities. However, the geographical extent of the area and lack of technical resources make the fight against cell structures difficult. The invasion of Turkey, which began in autumn 2019, has also massively strengthened IS. Jihadists who managed to retreat to the desert in the Syrian-Iraqi border region in the course of the “Storm Cizîrê” liberation offensive were able to reorganise themselves largely unchallenged and carry out attacks in both countries.

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