After an ISIS cell attacked and kidnapped civilians in Syria’s Hamah province, the group made the unprecedented move to free its captives in exchange for family members held in regime prisons. Local ISIS cells are further embedding themselves within the social and economic networks of the Badia, raising questions about the structure of ISIS’s insurgency in Syria.
The kidnapping and prisoner exchange conducted Tuesday afternoon by an ISIS cell in central Syria raises new questions about the structure of the insurgency. The local dynamics of the insurgency are becoming clearer and point to additional ways for ISIS to further embed itself within the social and economic networks of the Badia. ISIS cells consisting of locals form a crucial bridge between the civilian population, itself largely apathetic toward President Bashar al-Assad, and the foreign fighters that continue to flow into in the region.