Deir ez-Zor, Syria – A military operation by a US-backed Kurdish coalition against the last pockets of ISIL in northeast Syria seems far from ending soon.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, also known as ISIS, is successfully absorbing the attacks of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance of Kurdish, but also Arab and Assyrian militias.

Since the start of the SDF offensive in the northeastern province of Deir ez-Zor on May 10, ISIL fighters have been blending in with the civilian population, making identifying the group’s members difficult, according to an SDF commander.

Despite the fact that ISIL seems doomed militarily, it has powerful sleeper cells who help it to forestall the coalition movements by strewing mines everywhere; in trees, on roads, in fridges, inside toys, and under blankets.

Civilians in the area are paying the highest price. There are more than 255,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from Deir ez-Zorprovince living outside the area, under control of the Syrian army. 

According to the UN, 800,000 civilians have returned to their villages in 2017, risking their lives because of mines and IEDs, while others choose to stay in makeshift homes, often with no food, medical care and humanitarian assistance.

The Doctors Without Borders’ hospital in Kurdish-controlled al-Hasaka, 185km north of Deir ez-Zor, receives an average of one patient per day with injuries caused by landmines and IEDs. Most of the injured come from Deir ez-Zor province, and more than half are children.

The final battle against ISIL in northeast is fought between the villages of Hajin and Abu Kamal. [Linda Dorigo/Al Jazeera]

The final battle against ISIL in northeast is fought between the villages of Hajin and Abu Kamal. (LINDA DORIGO/AL JAZEERA)
A building under observation along the frontline in Bahara. [Linda Dorigo/Al Jazeera]

A building under observation along the frontline in Bahara. (LINDA DORIGO/AL JAZEERA)
In Deir ez-Zor province the advance against ISIL has followed two paths; to the west of Deir ez-Zor city with the government army supported by Russians, and to the east with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) supported by the US-led coalition. [Linda Dorigo/Al Jazeera]

In Deir ez-Zor province the advance against ISIL has followed two paths; to the west of Deir ez-Zor city with the government army supported by Russians, and to the east with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) supported by the US-led coalition. (LINDA DORIGO/AL JAZEERA)
Two-hundred families live in the camp of Bahara in Deir ez-Zor, where hygienic conditions are very poor. The blue curtain (pictured) shields a communal toilet. [Linda Dorigo/Al Jazeera]

Two-hundred families live in the camp of Bahara in Deir ez-Zor, where hygienic conditions are very poor. The blue curtain (pictured) shields a communal toilet. (LINDA DORIGO/AL JAZEERA)
Children in the makeshift camp of Bahara. The lack of humanitarian aid has repercussions on the food availability. The diet of IDPs is lacking the nutrients necessary for daily needs and for the growth of children. [Linda Dorigo/Al Jazeera]

Children in the makeshift camp of Bahara. The lack of humanitarian aid has repercussions on the food availability. The diet of IDPs is lacking the nutrients necessary for daily needs and for the growth of children. (LINDA DORIGO/AL JAZEERA)
Under a tent in the desert people displaced  from Hajin wait to be identified by SDF intelligence forces and be allowed to enter a the temporary IDP camp. [Linda Dorigo/Al Jazeera]

Under a tent in the desert people displaced from Hajin wait to be identified by SDF intelligence forces and be allowed to enter a the temporary IDP camp. (LINDA DORIGO/AL JAZEERA)
The living conditions in the Hajin camp are difficult. 'The war is close to inhabited areas, if the influx will continue we will need thousands of tents,' said Mohammed, who is managing the camp. He fears the number of IDPs is growing too fast to offer them dignified shelter. [Linda Dorigo/Al Jazeera]

The living conditions in the Hajin camp are difficult. ‘The war is close to inhabited areas, if the influx will continue we will need thousands of tents,’ said Mohammed, who is managing the camp. He fears the number of IDPs is growing too fast to offer them dignified shelter. (LINDA DORIGO/AL JAZEERA)
Subiha's nephew is in need of medical care. In the camp of Hajin there are no doctors or ambulances. [Linda Dorigo/Al Jazeera]

Subiha’s nephew is in need of medical care. In the camp of Hajin there are no doctors or ambulances. (LINDA DORIGO/AL JAZEERA)
With the ongoing war, hundreds of thousands from Deir ez-Zor province have been displaced more than two or three times, and a large number still live in the camps of Abu Khashab, Harisha and al-Hol, or in informal settlements without assistance. [Linda Dorigo/Al Jazeera]

With the ongoing war, hundreds of thousands from Deir ez-Zor province have been displaced more than two or three times, and a large number still live in the camps of Abu Khashab, Harisha and al-Hol, or in informal settlements without assistance. (LINDA DORIGO/AL JAZEERA)
'Here in Harijieh life is very bad,' said Nassar, one of the residents. The man cleans the oil cisterns to support the family. 'NGOs came twice and brought toothpaste and soap for the laundry. But we need food, medicine, running water, electricity.' [Linda Dorigo/Al Jazeera]

‘Here in Harijieh life is very bad,’ said Nassar, one of the residents. The man cleans the oil cisterns to support the family. ‘NGOs came twice and brought toothpaste and soap for the laundry. But we need food, medicine, running water, electricity.’ (LINDA DORIGO/AL JAZEERA)
A classroom converted into an apartment in the abandoned school of Harijieh. The diet of IDPs is mainly based on bread and tea. [Linda Dorigo/Al Jazeera]

A classroom converted into an apartment in the abandoned school of Harijieh. The diet of IDPs is mainly based on bread and tea. (LINDA DORIGO/AL JAZEERA)
A man prays on the ground floor of the abandoned school of Harijieh, 80km North from Hajin. Hundred people from Deir ez-Zor found home in the empty rooms of the building. 
Dry aubergines for the winter. Food is often donated to the IDPs in Harijieh by the SDF soldiers from a nearby military base. [Linda Dorigo/Al Jazeera]
Dry aubergines for the winter. Food is often donated to the IDPs in Harijieh by the SDF soldiers from a nearby military base. 
Please follow and like us:
0