Jund al Aqsa launches suicide bombings in support of Idlib offensive

Video of Jund al Aqsa fighter Abu Omar al Kuwaiti detonating at the Al Qal’ah checkpoint in Idlib city

Jund al Aqsa, a rebel group in Syria that is largely composed of foreign fighters, has launched two suicide bombings in support of the current rebel offensive on the regime-held Idlib city. Jund al Aqsa, or Soliders of Al Aqsa, is an al Qaeda ally that has operated alongside the Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda’s official branch in Syria, many times before.

The two suicide bombers targeted regime checkpoints on the outskirts of the city. Abu Omar al Kuwaiti attacked the al Qal’ah checkpoint, while Karar al Najdi, a Saudi, targeted the Ayn Shib checkpoint. Ahrar al Sham, another al Qaeda-ally taking part in the offensive, has released a map showing areas that have fallen to the rebel forces (seen below). Ayn Shib is located on the western side of the city, while al Qal’ah is in the southwestern portion of the city.

Two other suicide bombings have been reported during the offensive so far, one executed by Al Nusrah and another from an unspecified group. As of the publishing of this post, these two bombers have not been showcased with any pictures or a release of their identities.

The Al Nusrah Front, Jund al Aqsa, Ahrar al Sham, Liwa al Haqq, Jaish al Sunna, Ajnad al Sham and Faylaq al Sham have established a new coalition under the name of Jaish al Fateh for the Idlib offensive. The coalition already has a very active Twitter page and has been promoted by al Qaeda figures, including Abdallah Muhammad al Muhaysini. (For more on this coalition and the current fighting in Idlib, see LWJ report, Al Qaeda and allies form coalition to battle Syrian regime in Idlib.)

Jund al Aqsa has previously showcased its role alongside Al Nusrah in the Jabal al Zawiya region of Idlib. The two groups targeted the US-backed Syrian Revolutionaries Front (SRF) in its base and forced the leader of the SRF to flee. Jund al Aqsa also publicized its role alongside Al Nusrah and Ahrar al Sham in the taking of Wadi al Daif near the city of Maa’rat al Nu’man in Idlib. (For more on these instances, see LWJ reports, Al Nusrah Front, Jund al Aqsa fighters photographed in Syrian Revolutionaries Front stronghold in Idlib and Al Nusrah Front, Ahrar al Sham advance in northwestern Syria.)

Photos released by Jund al Aqsa and corresponding detonation photos:

Abu Omar al Kuwaiti

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Omar

 

Karar al Najdi

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Karar

 

Map released by Ahrar showing the targeted areas outlying Idlib city

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Update:

Al Nusrah has released this image of its suicide bomber at the Raam checkpoint in Idlib. The logo of Jaish al Fateh can be seen in the upper right hand corner.

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Caleb Weiss is an intern at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a contributor to The Long War Journal.

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