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Islamic State kills three, steals sheep in central Syria

IS continues to carry out attacks throughout Syria despite no longer holding territory.
Syria sheep

The Islamic State (IS) killed three people and stole hundreds of sheep in central Syria on Thursday, according to local reports. 

IS attacked a group of people grazing sheep in the Salamiyah area east of the central city of Hama, shooting them with machine guns. The guerrilla group killed three people in the attack and stole more than 1,000 sheep, bringing them to the desert in eastern Syria, Syria’s official news outlet SANA said. 

The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also reported the incident. 

Why it matters: IS lost its last territory in Syria in 2019, but the group continues to carry out attacks in the country. In February, IS fighters opened fire on truffle hunters in eastern Syria, killing dozens, Agence France-Presse reported at the time. 

The US-led anti-IS coalition said it arrested 198 and killed two “operatives” during missions in Syria in January, according to a press release. 

Al-Monitor reported last October that IS was able to carry out more attacks against Kurdish-led forces in the northeast, in part due to lax security measures by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the area. 

A March 2022 report from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace noted that IS has switched to carrying out attacks that “are not necessarily contingent on territorial control.” 

“ISIS is using a pattern of tactics that are very similar to the ones they adopted prior to 2010 when they relied on traditional combat, attrition attacks and guerrilla wars,” read the report. 

Know more: Tens of thousands of IS fighters and their families remain detained in northeast Syria, including in the infamous al-Hol camp. Repatriations of foreign IS affiliates are continuing. In January, Iraq repatriated 580 of its citizens from al-Hol. 

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