BEIRUT, LEBANON (6:30 P.M.) – Unknown residents from Idlib have raised ISIS flags over many of the city’s tall buildings last night, perhaps revealing that there is a large, but secret, support for the terrorist group within the city.

This comes after recent clashes between jihadists of the Ha’yat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) militant group and various Islamist factions in the city. It is known that because of these clashes, some residents now want to live under the rule of ISIS as they consider the organization to represent true Islam in the face of endless rebel infighting and the disunity that implies.

Despite numerous HTS raids on ISIS sleeper cells throughout Idlib, the city is still filled with many supporters for the terrorist group. To this end, the high ranks of HTS continue to fear that ISIS sleeper cells could be waiting for right moment to take over the city from their control.

On the other hand, it is possible that the flag-raising event was a just a well-executed propaganda stunt conducted by a very small number of ISIS agents to make it appear as if there is mass support for the group and to keep the HTS leadership in a paranoid state.

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I beg to disagree with this assessment that HTS attacked ISIS. Just less than a year ago the HTS high command issued a statement where it invited ISIS to join forces with them in their “holy jihad against the brutal infedel Assad.” So I sincerely doubt they would attack ISIS. On the contrary, I am convinced that HTS and ISIS terrorists exchange their names according to convenience to carry out attacks against government troops as has happened in Western Aleppo just yesterday.

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