isisOn Thursday, militants loyal to the Islamic State took control of six new villages located in northeast Hama, namely: Rasm Ad Dahl, Abu Al Khair, Buyad As Şaffaf, Rasm Al Tawl Al SyriaSharkiyah and Tiwal Ad Dabaghin. These villages were formerly under HTS control but were abandoned without a fight by the latter.

This expanding ISIS enclave, now made up of 20 villages along the provincial border between Hama and Idlib, is squeezed between territory controlled by HTS and SAA.

From a strategic perspective, ISIS hopes to relocate its caliphate in the largely Sunni province of Idlib where large parts of the conservative rural population are sympathetic to Sharia rule and hundreds of ISIS sleeper cells are present underground.

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