Several foreign jihadist groups have joined rebel opposition units to help combat regime advances in the northern Hama countryside.
According to the UN’s Jan. 2019 assessment, al Qaeda’s relationship with the Taliban is “long-standing” and “strong.” And al Qaeda “continues to see Afghanistan as a safe haven for its leadership.” The UN estimates that the Islamic State has several thousand fighters in Afghanistan as well.
According to a new report published by the United Nations, al Qaeda’s “alliance with the Taliban and other terrorist groups in Afghanistan remains firm,” as al Qaeda and the Taliban are “closely allied.” Some of the UN’s Member States consider al Qaeda’s global network to be a bigger long-term threat than the Islamic State.
Jihadists and Islamists in Syria have denounced the US government’s decision to designate Katibat Imam al Bukhari (KIB) as a terrorist organization. The KIB’s own statement on the designation includes misleading claims and some of those defending the group have their own al Qaeda links.
Katibat Imam al Bukhari (also known as the Imam Bukhari Jamaat), an Uzbek jihadist group that operates in Syria and Afghanistan, has been formally designated as a terrorist organization by the US State Department today.
As the siege continues into its second day, thousands of civilians have been forced to flee and martial law has been declared inside Marawi city.
The clashes are currently ongoing, but pictures circulating online appear to show jihadist forces openly moving about the city. At least one policemen is reported killed and five soldiers wounded so far.
Salahadin al Uzbeki, a veteran of the jihad in Afghanistan and leader of the Taliban-loyal Katibat Imam al Bukhari, has reportedly been assassinated by an “Islamic State infiltrator” in Idlib.