On March 22, fighters of the ISIS-affiliated Jund al-Aqsa attacked a headquarter of the Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) group Faylaq al-Sham in the town of al-Ghassaniyah in the northwestern Idlib countryside according to the Syrian pro-opposition news outlet Enab Baladi.
The source said that Jund al-Aqsa lost one of its fighters and killed four fighters of Faylaq al-Sham during the hit and run attack. The ISIS-affiliated group also captured loads of weapons and ammunition from Faylaq al-Sham headquarter.
Jund al-Aqsa was formed in Idlib governorate in January 2014 by “Abu Abd al-Aziz al-Qatari”, a Qatari commander of al-Qaeda. Soon after its formation, the radical group controlled large areas in the governorates of Idlib and Hama.
Later in February 2017, the relationship between Jund al-Aqsa and ISIS begin to surface as the radical group carried out several attacks against the US-backed FSA groups in the northern Hama countryside. Hundreds of FSA fighters were reportedly killed in Jund al-Aqsa attacks, which forced the former branch of al-Qaeda in Syria Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) to join the battle against the ISIS-affiliated group.
Eventually HTS broke a deal that helped Jund al-Aqsa to survive by allowing a part of its fighters to withdrew towards the ISIS-held areas in eastern Syria while the rest would joint HTS and the Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP).
Syrian opposition activists believe that Jund al-Aqsa cells in northern Syria are currently taking advantage of the ongoing war between HTS and the Syrian Liberation Front (SLF) to reestablish a foothold for the radical group there.