ISIS, Assad regime secretly cooperated for years
That’s according to tens of thousands of secret files and documents leaked by defectors from ISIS.
They claim that, in just one example, the ancient city of Palmyra was handed back to government forces in March as part of a series of cooperation agreements going back years.
Other alleged collusion include a deal between ISIS and Syria to trade oil for fertiliser and arrangements to evacuate some areas before the Syrian army attacked.
All appear to be pre-agreed deals and suggest direct evidence of collusion between the Syrian regime and ISIS chiefs, Sky claims.
One statement, written shortly before the Syrian army recaptured Palmyra after months of occupation by ISIS, reads: “Withdraw all heavy artillery and anti-aircraft machine guns from in and around Palmyra to Raqqa province”.
According to one defector the documents show ISIS is coordinating movement of its terrorists and leaving areas they previously controlled, in direct cooperation with the Syrian army and even the Russian airforce.
Any evidence there is collusion between ISIS and Russia will test relations between the two countries still further.
Dr Afzal Ashraf from the think tank Royal United Services Institute told Sky News : “It may take 20 years before we know exactly what is going on.
“Almost certainly there will be some sort of communication going on between mortal enemies, and that is for short term tactical gains and losses.
“Certainly if there is economic trading going on, which we know there is, there would be communication.”
The broadcasters claim the information, revealed in a letter obtained by Sky News,confirms the discoveries made in a massive haul of 22,000 files handed over last month .
The files also suggest the programme of recruiting and training ISIS terrorists in order to carry out atrocities on started long before security forces were aware.