On October 12, an ISIS suicide bomber driving a VBIED targeted a gathering of civilians near Abu Fas area on the al-Hasakah–Deir Ezzor highway, according to the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA).
Kurdish sources confirmed the attack and claimed that 40 civilians were killed or injured in it. According to the sources, the victims were mainly women and children fleeing the ISIS-held areas in Deir Ezzor governorate towards the SDF-held areas in al-Hasakah governorate.
Many of the victims were likely families of ISIS fighters.
Local sources claimed that 3 journalists of the Syrian-Kurdish Hawar news agency were among the victims of the attack. However, Hawar didn’t announce that it lost any of its workers in the attack.
While both SANA and Hawar claimed that ISIS was behind the terrorist attack, the ISIS-linked news agency Amaq didn’t confirm this.
The aim of the attack might be to force civilians to stay inside the ISIS-held areas and to allow ISIS fighters use them as human shields, a tactic ISIS is already using in Raqqa city. However, ISIS couldn’t use this tactic in Mayadin city because all the civilians evacuated the city before the beginning of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) attack.