Militants of the Islamic State (ISIS) in parade in Tel Abyad. File photo
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QAMISHLI – Dozens of militants have deserted the ranks of the Islamic State (ISIS) radical group in Syria’s northeastern Raqqa province over the past few days, local sources reported on Monday.
“A new wave of defections hit the ISIS ranks in Raqqa province,” a media source close to ISIS told ARA News in Raqqa, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The number of ISIS militants who left the group has exceeded the 200 jihadi fighters in one week, according the the informed source.
“Most of the dissidents headed to Aleppo in order to join the ranks of Syrian rebel groups, while others are expected to have crossed the border into Turkey,” he said.
ISIS has recently lost key areas to the western-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in northern Syria. The group has also suffered loss of strategic resources due to the continuous airstrikes by the U.S.-led coalition. Last week, the SDF expelled ISIS militants from several areas in the provinces of Hasakah, Raqqa and Aleppo.
This comes amid escalating rifts within the group over power and distribution of money.
On Sunday, senior Tunisian jihadi and commander of ISIS military operations in northern Raqqa, Abu Ali al-Tunisi, was killed at the hands of fellow ISIS militants. The militants have reportedly opened fire at the car of their commander on Sunday evening, killing him and two of his escorts. “Clashes broke out among the militants after the death of al-Tunisi, until the ISIS-led Islamic Police intervened and arrested at least three of those responsible for the commander’s death,” media activist Ammar al-Hassan reported, speaking to ARA News in Raqqa.
Local members of ISIS have reportedly protested against the group’s leadership for promoting a number of foreign jihadis to senior positions. Moreover, a wave of outrage has recently spread among the militants for the decreasing salaries, that followed the group’s loss of key resources under the coalition’s strikes.
In Aleppo, over 40 ISIS militants reportedly deserted the group’s ranks with support from Syrian rebel factions. “There have been confidential contacts between opposition factions and members of ISIS over the past two months. The efforts resulted in the defection of 40 ISIS militants with support from Failaq al-Sham (main Syrian rebel group in Aleppo),” rebel spokesman Ali Jaafar told ARA News on Sunday.
Reporting by: Ahmed Shiwesh
source: ARA News