Face to Face with ISIS in Sweida Countryside

Just one of the countless heroes from #Sweida countryside. Iskandar Saab had served in the 102 “Batch” of the Syrian Arab Army which had been decommissioned just two months before the #ISIS attack on his home village of Shrehi on the 25th July 2018. During the attack, Skander's mother, father, brother and cousin were martyred in their family home. 

Iskandar came face to face with the crazed ISIS terrorists as he attempted to scale the hill leading up to his family's house. He was shot in his right leg, his hand and his back. A local graduate of trade and economy, Mr Mahran Radi Saab saved Iskandar and managed to take him to his brother Khaled Saab. Mahran was later shot and killed by an ISIS sniper. 

Despite his life-threatening wounds, Iskandar managed to get into his car and drive 300m under fire from the ISIS snipers who had lined the roads joining the three villages of Rami, Shrehi and Shebki to prevent civilians going to the aid of the other villages which are only around 1km apart. 

The stories I heard today were chilling and shocking. The pain and anger was still raw and on the surface for these courageous people who refused to allow ISIS to take their land and their homes from them. 

"In Shrehi we suffered 37 martyrs. This property, this land, this country is in our blood, it belongs to us... we will never allow any superpower or their terrorists to steal this land or take control"  Iskandar's brother Khaled Saleh Saab told me. 

"The terrorists came from Chechnya, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Palestine, Egypt and Somalia. We know this from their IDs after we killed them. We killed 53 of their fighters." - Khaled Saab.

Over 270 civilians were massacred during the ISIS attack on the three villages. In Shrehi alone more than 300 were injured. When civilians attempted to take wounded family members to the hospital in their cars, ISIS fired on the vehicles. Many civilians, including children simply bled to death because ISIS prevented anyone leaving the villages under attack. 

"The roads ran with blood" one resident told me, pointing to the stains still visible on the road and walls of one of the homes that was targeted by the ISIS fighters.  

One car carrying 3 injured civilians came under a hail of bullets and was then hit by an RPG. The driver and the wounded occupants were "turned to ash". The car remains at the entrance of the village as a stark reminder of this demonic attack. 

Update:  This burned out car belonged to the Martyr Bahjat Atallah Saab who tried to rescue Zahi Jadallah Saab and his wife and son, Assem Zahi Saab (law student). The entire car was targeted while they were trying to escape the ISIS attack on Shbeki that began at 4am on 25th July 2018. The car was converted into a furnace and all occupants were incinerated, innocent civilians. Martyr Bahgat Saab was working as an Arabic language teacher.  


1. Iskandar Saab

2 & 3. The car that had been carrying three injured civilians. 

4. The photographs of martyrs at the entrance to Shrehi. 

5. Map of Sweida and countryside

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