PLEDGING ALLEGIANCE: Residents of Jarablus, which lies on Syria’s border with Turkey in northern Aleppo province, pledged allegiance to the Islamic State in Iraq and a-Sham (ISIS) in a town-hall meeting ISIS held on Saturday.
“We pledge allegiance to hear and abide to the Islamic State,” declared a number of attendees, repeating the lines spoken by an Egyptian ISIS leader.
The ceremony came after ISIS was able to regain control of Jarablus in mid-January, after rebel groups were able to enter and hold the city only for a matter of hours. ISIS then executed a number of Jarablus’s civilians, according to the pro-opposition website Aks al-Sir.
In six weeks of rebel infighting across northern Syria, ISIS has been forced to withdraw from a number of positions in the city of Aleppo and throughout Aleppo province, but has consolidated control over the Aleppo towns of Menbij, al-Bab and Jarablus.
Fighting across northern Syria continues, pitting ISIS against groups including Jabhat a-Nusra, the Islamic Front, Jaish al-Mujahideen and the Syrian Revolutionaries Front. On Sunday, an ISIS suicide bomber killed at least 13 people when he targeted a civilian hospital in Atma, near Syria’s border with Turkey, three days after another ISIS bomber targeted the Bab a-Salameh border crossing in Aleppo.
In the meeting in Jarablus, an ISIS leader, laughing, congratulates those present for joining ISIS: “Now you’ve become terrorists.”