97% Decrease in Terrorist Arrests Amid Syrian COVID Crisis
04/08/2020 Syria (International Christian Concern) – According to the Rojava Information Center, both attacks and raids of sleeper terrorist cells decreased in NE Syria during the month of March. Attacks decreased by 9%, and the number of arrests decreased by 97% (for comparison, operations against sleeper cells decreased by 31%). The location of attacks remained consistent with previous months. They primarily occurred in areas with a strong historical Assyrian and Armenian Christian presence.
COVID-19 is the main difference between the reporting periods of March and February. On the one hand, it suggests that the threat of COVID-19 has distracted ISIS and other extremist groups. On the other hand, it has significantly impacted counter-terrorism operations. There is a concern that while Islamic extremists may not be conducting as many attacks as before, they could still be planning incidents. Given that COVID-19 did not distract from the location of attacks, it shows that the targeting of minority areas remains an extremist priority.
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