On Sunday afternoon, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) apprehended an entire jihadist convoy attempting to travel from the Jaish al-Fateh heartland to Raqqa province through a narrow strip of government-held land between Salamiyah and Ithriyah.
The ambush occurred in the Wadi Al-Azeeb area as the SAA’s Airforce Intelligence and local National Defence Forces (NDF) opened fire on the approaching vehicles, killing a handful of Islamist militants while dozens other surrendered themselves.
According to a military source close to Al-Masdar News, the insurgent convoy consisted exclusively of Jund al-Aqsa militants that were looking to join Islamic State ranks to avoid the ongoing rebel infighting in Idlib province.
Prior to the breakout attempt, the Jund al-Aqsa unit had set up camp in the area. Several wives of the fighters, some from Turkey, were also apprehended in the SAA ambush.
The prisoners were given good treatment as the SAA hopes to trade them for Syrian soldiers held captive by hostile factions. Nevertheless, loads of heavy weaponry and a number of vehicles were seized during the operation:
Some reports suggest hundreds of Jund al-Aqsa militants have joined ISIS over the past week; however, this cannot be independently verified by Al-Masdar News. Jund al-Aqsa still controls Morek and Khan Sheikhoun while their forces are surrounded by rival rebel factions.