A source who has traveled recently along the Syria-Turkey border region has told EA that the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham is increasingly posing a threat to the moderate insurgency in the area, mostly because of the Islamist faction’s ability to attract and mobilize foreign funding and resources.
The source, who is an Arabic speaker, and who spoke to EA on condition of anonymity, says that he recently spent time in the town of Jarablus near the Turkey border. During his stay in Jarabulus the source claimed that he met with officers from the Free Syrian Army’s Tawheed Brigade and also spoke with fighters from the Northern Storm Brigade, who said that the situation for the moderate insurgency in the region had deteriorated.
The source described passing through ISIS-controlled checkpoints in the north of Syria, and claimed that ISIS fighters manning these checkpoints appeared highly disciplined and behaved in a “very polite” manner toward the source when they stopped his car to make checks.
Noting that ISIS has succeeded in gaining control of towns and areas in the north captured by the insurgents, the source claimed that the Islamist faction has begun setting up training camps and facilities in that border town.
The source went on to say that fighters from the FSA’s Northern Storm Brigade had told him that ISIS increasingly poses a threat to areas controlled by the “moderate” insurgency in the north, in large part because the Islamist faction has attracted foreign fighters and funding. The source claimed that ISIS had “considerable cash”, and that because of this, insurgent groups in the north do not try to confront them.
The threat posed by ISIS to the moderate insurgency’s gains in northern Syria is far greater than any threat posed by the local Islamist faction Jabhat al-Nusra, the source claims.