Syria

CENTCOM: Three senior Islamic State foreign fighters killed

CENTCOM announced today that "three senior foreign fighters" in the Islamic State were killed in recent weeks. Two of them were reportedly involved in the group's "external operations" and one of them was a trainer in the "Cubs of the Caliphate" program, which indoctrinates youth. The third jihadist helped oversee the Islamic State's use of small drones. Read more >

Why the UK launched its first targeted drone strike ever

The UK Parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee has released its investigative report on the Aug. 21, 2015 drone strike that killed UK national Reyaad Khan. The bombing was "the first time outside participation in a military campaign that the UK had conducted a lethal drone strike against a terrorist target." Khan was one of the Islamic State's most prolific cyber planners. Read more >

Ayman al Zawahiri warns against ‘nationalist’ agenda in Syria

In a new audio message, Ayman al Zawahiri warns jihadists that they should avoid a strictly "nationalist" agenda in Syria. He also says the jihadists should focus on waging a "guerrilla" war inside Syria and not place too much emphasis on controlling territory at this time. Zawahiri's words are likely intended to influence some of the debates occurring within jihadist circles. Read more >

Ohio man pleads guilty to terror charges after posting Islamic State hit list

The Department of Justice announced yesterday that a 24 year-old Ohio man, Terrence J. McNeil, has pleaded guilty to terrorism charges. Prosecutors charged McNeil with soliciting the murders of American servicemen after he republished an Islamic State "hit list" online. The list was first compiled by Junaid Hussain, an Islamic State operative who was subsequently killed in a drone strike in Raqqa, Syria. Read more >

Reading Iran’s Reaction To US Missile Strikes In Syria

Iran's political elite have weighed-in on the recent US cruise missile strikes in Syria and used the opportunity to plug their regime's narrative. While time will tell if Iran will ultimately read the strike as a show of American resolve or indecision, Iranian officials have fallen back on gloating, intimidation, and misinformation tactics that so often characterize Persian-language reporting. Read more >

Qassem Soleimani reportedly spotted in Syria’s Hama province

A photo surfaced on Friday claiming to show Qassem Soleimani, the chief of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) extraterritorial branch the Qods Force, in the northern countryside of Syria’s central province of Hama. Meanwhile, the IRGC announced the deaths of three additional Guard soldiers including a brigadier general second class in Syria. Read more >

Al Qaeda front group claims responsibility for suicide attacks in Damascus

Hay'at Tahrir al Sham (HTS), al Qaeda's new front group in Syria, has claimed responsibility for two suicide bombings that targeted Shiites in Damascus yesterday. Al Qaeda generally avoids targeting Shiite civilians, but a number of children and women were reportedly killed. HTS attempts to justify the bombings by arguing that the jihadists targeted "Iranian militias" and Bashar al Assad's forces. Read more >

IRGC-controlled Iraqi militia forms ‘Golan Liberation Brigade’

The Iranian-backed Iraqi militia Harakat al Nujaba this week announced the formation of its “Golan Liberation Brigade.” This announcement reflects Tehran’s post-Aleppo priorities in southern Syria: sustain ideological commitment to fighting Israel while planning to pose militarythreat to the the Jewish state from the Golan Heights. The Islamic Republic is also sending signal to Arab states that are in talks with Israel over a military coalition against Tehran's influence. Read more >

Uighur jihadist fought in Afghanistan, killed in Syria

A Uighur commander known as Abu Omar al Turkistani was killed in a US drone strike in Syria on Jan. 1. According to a jihadi biography posted online, he had a lengthy career fighting alongside al Qaeda-linked forces. He purportedly participated in the Battle of Tora Bora in late 2001. Read more >

Islamic State faces multiple adversaries in Al Bab, Syria

The Islamic State has been battling Turkey and allied groups north of Al Bab, Syria since Nov. 2016. The US was reluctant, at first, to support Turkey's ground operations near the town. But that changed after Turkey turned to Russia for aerial support. The Syrian regime and its allies also launched an offensive south of Al Bab earlier this month. Read more >

Pentagon: Airstrikes kill 20 or more al Qaeda fighters in northern Syria

The Pentagon is still assessing the results of airstrikes on Jan. 1 and Jan. 3 in northern Syria, but it is believed that 20 al Qaeda "militants" were killed in the bombings. The airstrikes are likely among the most significant carried out against al Qaeda in Syria since Sept. 2014. President Obama reportedly authorized a more robust air campaign against al Qaeda in Syria late last year, after the administration had previously defined down the threat. Read more >

IRGC officers killed in Palmyra

As the Islamic State has taken the ancient city of Palmyra and battle rages on in the outskirts for T4 military air base, two Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) officers have been announced killed in Palmyra. IRGC-backed Fatemiyoun Division have fought in the area, augmenting Syrian forces backed by Russian air power. Read more >

Jihadis celebrate capture of Russian base in Palmyra, Syria

The Islamic State's Amaq News Agency claims that 352 men from the Syrian Army and allied Shiite militias were killed during four days of fighting in and around Palmyra. In addition, the group claims to have recovered a significant amount of "spoils," namely tanks and various weapons. A video recorded inside a base formerly used by Russians documents some of this war booty. Read more >