LATEST: Video — Residents Welcome Insurgents of Ahrar al-Sham near Qamishli


Wednesday’s news from Syria was sudden and striking: far from making a stand in Aleppo, as had been widely widely expected, the Islamic State of Iraq and as-Sham had been defeated or withdrawn from its positions in Syria’s largest city.

Insurgents took over the main base of ISIS, a former children’s hospital. Hundreds of prisoners were released from detention from a makeshift jail; those less fortunate were found executed.

The Violations Documentation Center has posted a list of 65 men killed by ISIS in Aleppo.

Insurgents in front of the children’s hospital:

It is unclear whether ISIS’s departure from Aleppo is an effective surrender or a shift in tactics in the fight against insurgents which started last Friday.

Reports circulated of ISIS bombings, including a large explosion in Mayadeen in Deir Ez Zor Province in eastern Syria; however, the extent of the attacks and casualties could not be determined. Moreover, it is unclear if the bombings were a co-ordinated strategy or merely a response by individual units as ISIS pulled back from its positions across northern Syria.

Video: Residents Welcome Insurgents of Ahrar al-Sham near Qamishli

Claimed footage of local people welcoming insurgents of Ahrar al-Sham near Qamishli in Hasakeh Province in northeast Syria.

Ahrar al-Sham has been fighting the Kurdish militia YPG throughout the province.

State TV: Car Bomb in Hama Province Kills 17

State media reports that a car bomb near a school killed at least 17 people and wounded 30 in Hama Province on Thursday.

The explosion was in the village of al-Kaffat village, an area populated mostly by members of the Ismaili sect of Shia Islam.

No group claimed responsibility.

Video Claim: Kurds Drives ISIS Out of School in Aleppo

Footage claiming that the Kurdish brigade Jabhat al-Akrad brigade has taken over a school from the Islamic State of Iraq and as-Sham in the al-Haidariya neighborhood of Aleppo:

Association of Syrian Scholars Issues Fatwa Against ISIS

The Association of Syrian Scholars, an independent Islamic scholarly advocacy organization established in April 2010, has issued a fatwa against the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham, which among other things calls on those who have donated to the “jihad in Syria” to make sure their contributions do not go to ISIS.

The Association accuses ISIS of several misdemeanors, including:

Intruding into the Syrian nation by calling themselves ‘the State’ without any real existence of components that make it a legitimate or actual state and without consulting the Scholars and those recognised leaders with executive authority.

Video: State TV Hails New Russian Missiles for Regime

Insurgent Offensive in Homs Province?

Overshadowed by offensives elsewhere and then by fighting against the Islamic State of Iraq, insurgents appear to be on the move in Homs Province in central Syria.

The Islamic Front said on Thursday that it was attacking pro-Assad militias in Al-Kamb, near the city of Talbiseh, and to the east of Houla.

However, an opposition activist points to a significant setback for the insurgency:

Claimed footage of the dead insurgents has been posted.

Insurgents: ISIS No Longer “Brothers” But “Gangs of Baghdadi”

In a notable shift of language, Liwa al-Tahwid — one of the leading groups in the Islamic Front — is no longer calling the Islamic State of Iraq and as-Sham “brothers”.

Instead the group is the “gangs of Baghdadi”, a reference to its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.