According to a rebel source, a dozen former ISIS militants – including Tunisian Islamic jurist Bilal al-Shuwash al-Tunsi and his companion Abu Dharr al-Tunsi – arrived to Idlib province on Tuesday after crossing the border with aid from Turkey.
Their defection was facilitated in late November through radio coordination with Jaysh Usud al-Sharqiya, a Free Syrian Army (FSA) group which has advanced alongside other Turkish-backed rebel factions in the northern Aleppo countryside during operation ‘Euphrates Shield’.
After a thorough security screening, the ISIS defectors were given the green light to travel through Turkey and once again cross the border into the Jaysh al-Fateh heartland of Idlib province.
According to the source, Bilal al-Shuwash al-Tunsi and his fighters have now joined Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, a jihadist group with ties to al-Qaeda.
The report correlates with recent statements by Sheikh Abdallah Muhammad al-Muhaysini, the leading Jaysh al-Fateh spokesperson, which indicate that hundreds of ISIS fighters are defecting back to Syrian rebel ranks due to the caliphate continuously losing territory.