Turkistan Islamic Party in Syria conducted suicide bombings at Jisr al Shughur

Jisr bomber

One of two suicide bombers shown in a propaganda video released by the Turkistan Islamic Party

The Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP), an al Qaeda-affiliated Uighur jihadist group, recently publicized the use of two suicide bombers during the large offensive at Jisr al Shughur in Syria’s Idlib province.

The first bomber, identified as Mohammad Anas by the group on Twitter, is shown conducting the suicide bombing in a recent video released by Islam Awazi, the TIP’s official media wing. According to the jihadist account online, the bomber detonated near the national hospital in Jisr al Shughur. The hospital was one of the last regime positions to fall in the strategically important city. The second bomber, which has yet to be named by the jihadist group, is featured in a new video released by the media wing.

This is not the first bomber utilized in Syria by the TIP. Another suicide bomber, identified as Dadullah al Turkistani, detonated in an operation in Idlib last year, along with an American bomber, Abu Hurayra al Amriiki of the Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda’s official branch in Syria. Another bomber, Abdulvaris al Turkistani, also detonated himself in a coordinated assault with the al Qaeda branch sometime last year.

Other TIP fighters that were killed in the fighting are also shown throughout the video, including the group’s military commander, Abu Rida al Turkistani, a native Syrian member of the organization. The jihadist organization has showcased its killed fighters in Syria on its official Twitter feed.

The jihadist group fought in the “Battle of Victory” coalition in the Jisr offensive, which included the Al Nusrah Front, Ahrar al Sham, Ansar Sham, Jaish al Islam, the Jabhat Ansar al Din (which includes the Chechen Jaish al Muhajireen wal Ansar, the Moroccan Harakat Sham al Islam, and the native Syrian group Harakat Fajr al Sham al Islamiyya), Jamaat Ansar al Islam (the Syrian remnant faction of Ansar al Islam), and many others. The coalition claimed victory over Bashar al Assad’s forces in Jisr al Shughur after three days of fighting. [See LWJ report, Al Qaeda, jihadist allies declare victory over Syrian regime in key city, and Threat Matrix report, Jihadists celebrate in key Idlib city after defeating Syrian regime.]

The TIP played a significant role in the coalition and in the battle itself. Jihadist Twitter accounts said that the Uighur jihadist group, which goes by Katibat Turkistani in Syria, captured two checkpoints in the initial assault on the city. It also confirmed on Twitter that it had lost 20 fighters during the initial offensive, indicating that the group had more than a supporting role. [See LWJ report, Turkistan Islamic Party had significant role in recent Idlib offensive.]

Note: This article has been updated to include information on the second suicide bomber.

The second suicide bomber can be seen below:

Jisr bomber2

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

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3 Comments

  • mike merlo says:

    to bad the Thais sent those Uighur’s destined for Turkey back to Communist China. They could have made a valued contribution to the Syria Iraqi Theater

  • AMac says:

    Peter Lee has been covering the story of how ethnic Uighurs from China are ending up in South Asia and the Middle East with Turkish passports — some crude forgeries, others seemingly genuine. I don’t know Lee’s bona fides, but his reports are detailed, and seem credible.

    If his narrative is broadly correct, then senior members of the Turkish government or military are promoting the radicalization of would-be jihadis in western China, and facilitating their travel to Syria, Indonesia, and other hot spots.

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