On April 19, ISIS fighters conducted a hit and run attack from their pocket in the western Daraa countryside against the positions of Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra; HTS) and the US-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) in the town of al-Shaykh Saad and the Jilin housing complex, the ISIS-linked news agency Amaq reported.
ISIS used a suicide vehicle borne improvised explosive device (SVBIED) to blow up a key FSA position around the town of al-Shaykh Saad.
Amaq said that ISIS fighters had killed 36 fighters and commanders of HTS and the FSA and had injured dozens others in the attack. Several Syrian opposition sources, including the news outlet Enab Baladi, confirmed Amaq’s claims.
Meanwhile, the HTS-linked news agency Iba’a claimed that HTS fighters had repelled the ISIS attack after six hours of clashes. Iba’a also confirmed that HTS fighters had recaptured all the positions in al-Shaykh Saad and the Jilin housing complex.
ISIS’ new attack was likely a pre-emptive move against HTS and the FSA who had been preparing to launch own attack on the ISIS-held pocket in western Daraa, according to several opposition sources.