Hay’at Tahrir al Sham (HTS), a newly formed group that includes al Qaeda’s Syrian arm, launched a complex assault on the Assad regime’s security services in the city of Homs earlier today. A high-ranking military intelligence official was killed in the suicide raid.
Five groups, including al Qaeda’s rebranded branch, have announced the creation of a new group in Syria. The move comes after weeks of reported disagreements and clashes between the insurgents in northern Syria.
Ayman al Zawahiri eulogizes two slain al Qaeda veterans in a newly released video. Zawahiri praises the pair for their contributions to jihad. The production is laced with criticisms of Abu Bakr al Baghdadi’s Islamic State.
The US Treasury Department designated Dr. Abdallah Muhammad al Muhaysini and three other jihadists in Syria today. All four of them have worked for Al Nusrah Front, now known as Jabhat Fath al Sham (JFS), which is al Qaeda’s arm in Syria. Muhaysini claims to be an “independent” cleric, but Treasury says he is part of Al Nusrah’s “inner leadership circle.”
Al Qaeda’s rebranded guerrilla army in Syria is fighting alongside other jihadists, Islamists and Free Syrian Army-branded rebels in an offensive intended to break the Assad regime’s siege of Aleppo. Most of the participating groups belong to two coalitions: Jaysh al Fath (“Army of Conquest”) and Fatah Halab (“Aleppo Conquest”). These same two alliances tried and failed to break the siege earlier this year.
Jabhat Fath al Sham, al Qaeda’s rebranded branch in Syria, announced earlier today that Ahmed Salama Mabrouk has been killed in an airstrike in Idlib. Mabrouk was an Egyptian al Qaeda veteran and served on Jabhat Fath al Sham’s elite shura council.
A helicopter carrying three French soldiers crashed near Benghazi, Libya on July 17, killing the Frenchmen and their Libyan counterparts on board. A new jihadist front called the Benghazi Defense Brigades quickly claimed credit, saying its fighters downed the helo with a shoulder-fired missile. French President Hollande said it was an “accident.” Either way, jihadists and Islamists are now rattling their sabres at France.
The Jaysh al Fateh alliance captured three more villages in the southern countryside of Aleppo during an offensive that began on June 17. The jihadist-led coalition has made steady gains in Aleppo province since May, further demonstrating al Qaeda’s prowess in guerrilla warfare.