New information about ISIS activity concerning Israel was revealed on Sunday. According to a report in the Times of Israel, the terror group has been secretly operating sleeper cells in southern Syria in close proximity to the border with Israel.
A spokesman for the Free Syrian Army said that approximately 6,000 Islamist rebel fighters who have made their way southward toward Jordan and Israel in fact belong to ISIS and not the al-Qaeda affiliated Al-Nursa Front.
The spokesman explained that ISIS and the less radicalized Al-Nursa recently fought over control of oil-laden northern Syria in which ISIS won. Over the last several weeks, Al-Nursa rebels seized control the only border crossing between Israel and Syria in the Quneitra region.
The Free Syrian Army, known as the moderate rebel group opposing Syrian President Bashar Assad, have fought alongside ISIS in several intense battles over control of Syria. With personal experience of ISIS, the spokesman explained that “there are sleeper cells in the south, which are hidden.”
“They don’t do anything [military] at all. Many people [in the moderate Syrian opposition] are following them and will strike at them before they organize,” he said.
Citing intelligence gathered by the Free Syrian Army, ISIS recruits members in areas of battle by offering monetary incentives or much needed basic food staples.
“They say: ‘Stay at home, no one will know about you. The moment we need you, we’ll call,” he said.
Two villages in which ISIS recruiters are especially active is Hayt and Sahem Al-Jawlan, located near the Syrian-Jordanian border. “They were sent by the Islamic State to control the largest portion of land possible,” the spokesman said. “We are against them wholeheartedly. They have nothing to do with Israel, which they merely use as a cover.”
While the spokesman said that many locals have refused these offers by ISIS, he explained that the situation could change very rapidly, especially in light of increased poverty throughout parts of Syria.