DAMASCUS, SYRIA (2:30 P.M.) – According to a report by The Guardian, hundreds of ISIS defectors have made it from Syria across the heavily patrolled Turkish border after paying smugglers upwards of 2,000$ for completing their journey.
With the Islamic State imploding from all sides territorially, foreign fighters whom once swore alligence to Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi have begun massing in Idlib province and eventually hope to find their back to various home countries in the Middle East, North Africa and Europe.
For instance, The Guardian stressed that four Saudi Arabian extremists arrived in southern Turkey in early September. Abu Saad, a Saudi national who also fled Syria but in late August, told the Guardian that as many as 300 former ISIS members, many of them Saudis, have established a community north of Idlib city, which is now dominated by Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS/Syrian Al-Qaeda).
In recent months, HTS has cracked down on ISIS sleeper cells and rival rebel groups. Effectively, many former ISIS members no longer feel safe in Idlib province.
ISIS has not had an organised presence in the governorate since early 2014 when it was ousted by a rebel assault that saw its members flee to eastern and northern Syria.