Suicide bombers 'defecting from Isis' and fleeing to Turkey or rival militant groups

Activists say defections are leading militants to seal off barriers and check points in Syrian stronghold

Heather Saul
Monday 09 February 2015 16:16
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An Isis jihadist pictured standing on the rubble of houses after a Syrian warplane was reportedly shot down by Isis militants over the Syrian town of Raqa
An Isis jihadist pictured standing on the rubble of houses after a Syrian warplane was reportedly shot down by Isis militants over the Syrian town of Raqa

The number of fighters defecting from Isis is causing the extremist group to seal off barriers and checkpoints throughout the city of Raqqa, a Syrian watchdog has claimed.

Activists from the Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently (RBSS) group say tension is growing within Isis' ranks after a number of its members defected and fled to Turkey.

RBSS says many of the defectors were marked for suicide bombing missions, meaning their desertion has served the group a “painful punch”.

Some of those who escaped reportedly went to areas controlled by Jabhat al Nusra, an al-Qaeda branch active in Syria and Lebanon.

RBSS quoted sources as claiming fighters who are caught trying to leave will be executed on the spot by militants.

The RBSS said the “internal unrest” caused by the defections is cutting into the group, who were recently driven out of Kobani by Kurdish fighters and US-led coalition air strikes. Isis held over half of the border city between Syria and Turkey for more than a month before their defeat. Militants had also encircled the city, causing 200,000 to flee where they could and trapping those who were unable to leave.

A Kurdish fighter walks with his child in Kobani after Isis was driven out of the strategic Syrian border town

Elijah J Magnier, Al Rai's chief international correspondent, told The Independent that "many" Isis foreign fighters have fled to Turkey because they were unwilling to continue fighting. He said some were caught and executed by Isis but others managed to escape.

Reports of suicide bombers leaving the group comes as Afghan officials claimed a militant commander believed to have defected from the Taliban to Isis was killed in a drone strike in the southern Helmand province.

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