On 17 November news came out of Syria that the ISIS Hunters had captured 250 ISIS fighters in order to secure Kate Island, north of Deir ezZor.

Hawija prisoner

On November 17, the Russian-backed ISIS Hunters announced that they have fully secured Kate Island north of the city of Deir Ezzor and captured 250 fighters of ISIS. The captured ISIS fighters had been trapped inside the island since the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) liberated Deir Ezzor on November 3. (South Front)

The map shows that Kate Island is right against the city of Deir ezZor, so victory was essential to the well-being of its inhabitants.

Map

The ISIS Hunters posted on facebook:

ISIS surrendered to ISIS Hunters after several days siege of Hawijah Kate island:
Hunters captured more than 250 ISIS militia capitulated with lots of 7.62 and 12.7 ammunition and enough food reserves after the last way to retreat was cut off.

On November 14, Hunters joined a comb out operation of the island. ISIS was concentrated in the central and southern part of the island. At the beginning Hunters operation was complicated by heavy resistance and high-density fire. They used all range of weapons like ak-47 and machine guns hiding behind backs of local civilians. Nevertheless, Hunters kept moving with field artillery support. At night, our men spotted several boats heading towards the island and opened heavy fire. After several minutes of gunfire boats turned back and left their comrades on the island.
The next morning ISIS started to surrender in groups of 10-15 men. Overall amount of surrendered militia is 250 men.
Now Hawijah Kate island is secured.

Further description and pictures from Muraselon Syrian Reporters here.

Who are the ISIS Hunters  (صائدوا داعش)?

  “Elite SF unit. They lost their families and homes. They have nothing but their Motherland… and boiling hatred for the enemies. It is time for revenge.” (twitter bio.)

The ISIS Hunters are a special force of the Syrian Arab Army,  formed, funded and trained by the Russian military to fight ISIS in the Syrian desert.  Al Masdar reported in February:

The ISIS Hunters will be tasked with protecting the liberated gas and oil fields in western Palmyra, along with the weapons storage facilities near the T-4 Military Airport.

In fact the activities of the ISIS Hunters quickly expanded well beyond this initial brief, including the liberation of Palmyra and then crossing the Euphrates to clear ISIS from the eastern Bank.  The operation to take Palmyra must have already been in the planning stage, given that the Hunters moved towards the town soon after formation, with Palmyra falling on 2 March.

The ISIS Hunter motto is “it’s time to avenge our country, Syria”.

Their formation was officially announced in February 2017, with a video released on the 27th:

The operation to retake Palmyra was soon underway (video).

taking Palmyra

Palmyra town was taken on 2 March, with the support of Russian air power and also  Hezbollah, according to the Washington Post – the Post was disappointed that the Syrian statement on Palmyra “did not mention the role of the United States, which has also stepped up strikes in the Palmyra area in recent weeks”.

Soon after, the Hunters released another mission statement, and an appeal for recruits, filmed in the theatre of Palmyra.

Palmyra.PNG

After the liberation of Palmyra, the ISIS Hunters were occupied with guarding the town against the return of ISIS, clearing the environs, including retaking the Palmyra gas fields, and keeping roads such as the Homs-Palmyra highway open.

On 4 April came reports of a sarin attack by Syrian forces in Khan Sheikhoun, Idlib.  Despite the obvious discrepancies in the reporting (the only witnesses were members of terrorist gangs, who photographed and videos themselves standing in round in sarin contaminated ground in sandalled feet), Donald Trump was persuaded to send a message to the Syrian government a couple of days later, by unleashing 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at Al Shayrat airfield in western Syria, where the chemical weapons attack was claimed to have originated.

The Hunters’ reply to Trump was scornful:

Clearing ISIS from the gas fields continued:

A new video appeared on May 14, introducing ISIS Hunter commander Ameer Ahmad Ahmad.

Ameer.PNG

Ahmads message to the US:

“To the United States and precisely Trump, you have saved many of those mercenaries in prisons and sent those same criminals to be buried on our lands. Our arms are waiting for them on this holy land. We will hunt them as long as they are on this land; we will hunt them wherever they are. They will never be able to hide from us.”

Securing the Homs-Palmyra road, July 3:

In July, ISIS Hunter Abu Yusha reports that “American intelligence have blocked us” – their Official Isis Hunters facebook page had been closed down (the page is up again).

Professional development has not been forgotten, with a two-week tactical drill course for assault units .

In August the Hunters uploaded a video on their activities in the east Hama region:

The Hunters now prepared to take Huwaysis.  According to their report,

“Before the assault on Huwaysis ISIS Hunters took under control several strategic IS strongholds located to the southeast from the city. The most important and the most arduous was a fortified stronghold in the area of height 863. Right before the battle commander of terrorist fled from the position on the motorcycle leaving his fighters on their own. Despite the heavy resistance of the remaining, Hunters managed to take the stronghold without any losses. When the Hunters eliminated all the IS terrorists and took their position, they found perfectly fortified bunker craved into the mountain. “

Next step was to take Uqayribat, on the Palmyra-Hama road.

The Hunters took and held al Mushrifeh, close to Homs, which was not without its challenges.

And on 1 September Uqayribat is liberated by the ISIS Hunters:

ISIS Hunters then moved into the province of Deir ezZor, taking ash Sholah, about 30 km from Deir ezZor city on the Palmyra road.

Crossing to the left (east) side of the river was cause for celebration, with Marrat, Sbahah and Mazlum taken in short order:

Syrian and allied forces lifted the siege on the airport at Deir ezZor on 10 September (video).  The ISIS Hunters were occupied with clearing the east bank of the Euphrates below the city.   Kusham is about 15 kilometres south-east of Deir ezZor city:

The Hunters continued to clear the east bank towards al Busayr, another 20k south from Kusham.

Then on 17 November the Hunters took Kate Island:

soldierprisoner.jpg

And offered to exchange their prisoners for Russians captured by ISIS:

As at 22 November the ISIS Hunters were continuing to clear ISIS from the Euphrates area.

Good