The Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP) in Afghanistan and Syria has long operated as part of the Taliban-al Qaeda axis. Earlier this year, however, the TIP’s Syrian branch sided with Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) during its battles with other rebel groups. This infighting and related events have complicated the picture with respect to the TIP in Syria. One TIP-affiliated outlet claimed earlier this year that the group’s senior management had sent new leadership from Afghanistan to Syria.
The foreign fighters include one Canadian and three French-speaking militants. The latter bunch likely belong to Omar Diaby’s Firqatul Ghuraba, a French jihadist outfit in Syria.
The footage of the convoy is undated, but it offers a good look into the Turkistan Islamic Party’s strength, size, and importance on the battlefield.
The suicide bombings show the Turkistan Islamic Party’s close battlefield integration with al Qaeda’s forces in Syria, as well as further highlighting its position within the overall al Qaeda network.
This marks at least the second time a French fighter has been killed alongside the Turkistan Islamic Party in Syria.
The Turkistan Islamic Party, a Uighur jihadist group connected to al Qaeda, continues its long tradition of showing children trained for jihad.
While the Islamic State gets most of the attention for its training of children, several other jihadist groups in Syria, many of which foreign al Qaeda groups, also do the same.
If confirmed, the Turkistan Islamic Party is not the only jihadist group to have used the US-made anti-tank missiles. The Islamic State, Al Nusrah Front, and the Caucasus Emirate in Syria have all released propaganda showing its forces using the TOW missiles.