On October 11, Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS; formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda) recaptured Umm Myal and al-Tulihan villages in the northern Hama countryside from ISIS, according to the HTS-linked news agency Iba’a. The source added that 46 fighters of ISIS were killed by HTS during the advance.
Iba’a also reported that another unit of ISIS attempted to sneak into Bayud village in the northern Hama countryside by hiding among civilian refugees on October 11. However, HTS members foiled the attempt, and killed 18 ISIS fighters, according to Iba’a.
Meanwhile, 4 HTS fighters were killed after a suicide bomber attacked their vehicles in Armanaz town in the northern Idlib countryside, according to Iba’a.
According to Syrian opposition sources, ISIS sleeper cells in Idlib governorate are likely behind the attack. Right before the suicide attack HTS raided an ammo depot and IED workshop that belongs to ISIS in Maarzita town in the southern Idlib countryside.
The latest development in the northern Hama countryside and in Idlib governorate confirmed that ISIS sleeper cells in Idlib are very effective. Due to the lawless situation in Idlib governorate, ISIS may re-launch its activity in Idlib amid the terrorist group’s collapse in eastern Syria.