Fighting in Syria has been ongoing for five years
Fighting in Syria has been ongoing for five years | Orlok, Shutterstock

Syrians revolt against ISIS

Scattered revolts against the Islamic State have begun to take place within ISIS-controlled areas of Syria, a well-placed Western intelligence source tells AMI Newswire.

“These are small yet significant rebellions that, six months ago, were unthinkable,” said the source, who is not authorized to talk to the press, and who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Neither the numbers nor the sizes of the rebellions are known, the source said, adding that the most important aspect, for now, is that the rebellions have formed. Previously, the source said, people in Syria were too intimidated to rise up against a Draconian ISIS.

“This is what we call a bell-ringer,” the source said. “Pay attention: something has changed.”

The rebellions also have been reported by the Iranian Fars News Agency, but they have not been officially verified through U.S. military channels.  

"We have seen open source reporting on protests for varying reasons in Syria this past weekend outside the Palmyra region," a Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve spokesman told AMI. "We do not have any additional information."

The rebellions come in the wake of key Western- and Russian-assisted gains against ISIS, the intelligence source says.

More than a week ago, the Syrian Army recaptured Palmyra, an important hub that had spent nearly a year under ISIS control. On Sunday, multiple news outlets reported that Syrian forces had recaptured Qaryatain, 60 miles west of Palmyra.

The back-to-back victories are important, an American military source said, because they prevent ISIS from controlling oil and gas routes between Damascus in the west and oil fields in the Syrian east. The victories against ISIS also disrupt internal supply routes. 

“These are significant battlefield gains against the Islamic State,” the military source said.

 The battlefield gains prove that ISIS is not unstoppable, the intelligence source told AMI Newswire. He explained that the combat victories are helping to reverse the Syrian peoples’ mindset of defeat: “The rebellions show that the ongoing advances against the Islamic State have broken ISIS’s psychological hold over a conquered people.”

The fight against ISIS in Syria has been waged with the help of an unlikely synchronization between Russian air forces and the U.S.-led Operation Inherent Resolve. The synchronization is not a formal partnership, but -- according to Central Command chief General Joseph Votel in comments to the press last Wednesday -- the militaries have coordinated with one another to ensure “no possibility of an incident between Russian forces and U.S. forces.”

Russia has launched airstrikes, while the coalition continues its attacks via rocket artillery, fighter jets, and remotely piloted aircraft.

The coalition actions are taking place on a continuing basis, according to the Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve. In recent days, the task force reports, Coalition forces hit a number of ISIS targets in Syria, including a rocket rail system and several fighting positions. On April 5, targets included a mortar system and tactical units.

In Syria, the coalition is working in conjunction with "indigenous opposition organizations that have dedicated themselves to fighting [ISIS]," said Col. Chris Garver, CJTF-OIR Public Affairs Officer.

"In the north, we are partnered with the Syrian Democratic Forces," Garver said. "In Shaddadi, the SDF are improving their defenses and preparing for future operations."

Garver said that so far, progress has been good: "Since February 15, 2016, they have gained more than 6,100 square kilometers."

The coalition additionally is partnered with opposition forces in the northwest and southwest areas of Syria. These partners, too, are making progress. At Tanf, Garver said, a faction of a Vetted Syrian Opposition group seized an old regime garrison being used by ISIS.

"The destruction of [ISIS] targets in Syria and liberation of cities, towns and villages further limits [ISIS] ability to project terror and conduct operations," said garver.

The operations are met with gratitude from those who oppose ISIS.

“Thank you Coalition …” commented one person, who posts in Arabic and English, on the CJTF-OIR Facebook page. “[ISIS] morale is down, we have to take advantage of this to gain more territories.”

Whether the momentum becomes a full fledged insurrection against ISIS remains to be seen.