On November 24, ISIS fighters captured the villages of Tual Dabaghin, Junah and Suarnah from Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) in the northeastern Hama countryside, according to Syrian oppositions sources.
Opposition sources accused the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) of moving ISIS fighters from the eastern Homs countryside to the northeastern Hama countryside. However, these claims were not backed by any evidence.
So far, HTS has done little to counter the ISIS advance in the area. ISIS likely managed to achieve this success thanks to its cells in the HTS-held areas and even inside HTS itself.
Lately HTS deployed dozens of foreign militants to the northeastern Hama countryside to counter the SAA advance. Many of these militants are likely sympathetic to ISIS and may have defected to it. Many fighters of HTS and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) in Idlib governorate may also defect to ISIS. A similar situation took place in eastern Syrian in 2014.