Operation Al-Jazeera Thunderbolt completed, and the joint forces moved to focused operations phase

On December 29, 2022, our forces launched Operation al-Jazeera Thunderbolt with the participation of the Internal Security Forces of NE Syria and the International Coalition to hunt ISIS terrorist cells hiding in the desert and residential areas, and civilian farms using fake names and taking advantage of the humanitarian conditions provided by our forces and the Autonomous Administration for the displaced people fleeing from the Syrian war zones. The operation lasted eight days, during which 55 villages and farms were swept in the al-Hol, Tal Hamis, and Tal Brak, in addition to some focused targets in the three towns and large areas of the Syrian-Iraqi border. The operation achieved many tangible results, and the following are the facts of the operation:


The timely necessities:  


  • The operation was planned to take place in November last year, but it was postponed due to our forces’ preoccupation with countering the attacks of Turkish occupation.
  • ISIS took advantage of the recent attacks that supported its cells and gave them the ability to move from the desert areas near the Syrian-Iraqi border, repositioning in residential areas, especially in the al-Hol, Tal Hamis, and Tal Brak where many VBIEDs manufactured and weapons stored in preparation for potential terrorist acts. Over the past period, our forces confiscated large weapons caches, thwarting many attacks from those regions.
  • In the al-Hol and Tal Hamis, the forces participating in Operation Al-Jazeera Thunderbolt arrested three terrorists involved in providing logistical support and manufacturing the VBIEDs used by ISIS terrorists in their attack on the al-Sina’a prison last year.
  • ISIS cells were planning to attack the people in the Qamishlo and al-Hasaka during the Christmas and New Year’s celebrations, yet the pre-emptive and sudden strike dealt by Operation Al-Jazeera Thunderbolt thwarted any potential attacks and arrested the planners, so the New Year’s celebrations took place in a safe and sound condition.
  • Besides hunting the terrorist cells, the forces arrested many criminals involved in crimes against the local populace and dignitaries, including kidnappings, robberies, and financial extortion. Some hostile parties proved to be involved in managing these criminal acts.


Strategic long-term necessities:


  • Operation Al-Jazeera Thunderbolt is a continuation of the military struggle led by our forces against the ISIS terrorist cells, and it comes within a plan and schedule developed according to absolute necessity, focused on the areas of the al-Hol, Tal Hamis and Tal Brak following the terrorist cells’ extorting attempts to impose the extremist ideology and attract new elements using messages and media discourse based on religious extremism and backed by some deviant figures hostile to the Autonomous Administration. The terrorist cells were arrested, and the recruitment networks, including youth and adolescent recruitment networks, were dismantled. 


Operation process and results:


The Operation started from several axes, and during the first hours, it focused on arresting the dangerous wanted terrorists. The joint forces managed to achieve immediate results, arresting many terrorists involved in many attacks and several facilitators.

The Operation then expanded to cover the villages and areas where terrorist cells tried to flee from the eyes of the joint forces. However, the forces destroyed many hideouts and hotbeds, confiscating large quantities of weapons and ammunition, identity papers, and unauthorized military uniforms used for camouflage.

The Operation also expanded to the Syrian-Iraqi border, sweeping large parts to the south and east of the al-Hol town, searching for any possible terrorist hotbeds.

During the sweep and raid operations, our forces arrested 154 wanted terrorists involved in planning and conducting terrorist acts, facilitators, and criminals who committed various crimes against the people.

  • A- Number of ISIS cell terrorists and suspects arrested: 102 terrorists, including three involved in preparing and delivering the VBIEDs used in the attack on the al-Sina’a prison in January 2022.
  • B- Number of logistical suppliers and propagators: 27 arrestees.
  • C- Number of criminals involved in looting, kidnapping, and financial extortion against the local populace: 25 arrestees.

In conclusion, we, the forces participating in Operation Al-Jazeera Thunderbolt, highly appreciate the supporting stances of our people in the areas of Tal Hamis, Tal Brak, and al-Hol, particularly the notables and tribal leaders who raised their voices against ISIS cells, supporting our forces at all stages of the operation. We announce the end of Operation Al-Jazeera Thunderbolt, and our forces will continue hunting down the ISIS terrorist cells through focused security operations when necessary.


SDF Media Center

January 06, 2023

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