African jihadists killed in fighting in Syria

Al-Monitor reports that African jihadists from Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya have been killed while fighting in Syria for the Furqan Battalion, with operates with the al Qaeda-linked Al Nusrah Front. The report is reproduced below in full:

The al-Furqan Battalion in the Idlib province in Syria admitted that eight Moroccan and two Algerian members have died in the ongoing fighting in the province.

The al-Furqan Battalion, which is fighting against the Syrian regime alongside the al-Nusra Front — a group that is linked to al-Qaeda — said that two Algerian militants were killed in the ongoing fights in the Idlib province in Syria. The front said in a statement that an Algerian member, called Abu Khaythama by the group, died in an air raid carried out by the Syrian regime. Bulletins containing the names of Arab fatalities among the front’s members said that another Algerian militant was recently killed in military operations in Idlib. The Syrian army killed at least two Algerians, eight Moroccans and a number of Libyans in the past weeks, according to bulletins published on the Internet.

A number of Algerians have joined the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front in Syria, including Abu Khaythama and Abu Omar, who are believed to be former fighters in Iraq and who recently infiltrated Syria to support the front. Information published online and confirmed by sources close to al-Qaeda in Syria said that a third Algerian militant called Bilal was killed several months ago. The list of fatalities included Mauritanian nationals Ammar al-Shanqiti and Abu Abbas al-Tahari, as well as a large number of Libyans, including Khaled Mesrati and Jamal Talwi.

Frequent reports have revealed the names of new fatalities among Arab militants in the al-Nusra Front — called al-Muhajireen (the Migrants) — such as a 30-year-old Moroccan named Abu Salim.

The statement did not reveal any information regarding the circumstances surrounding the deaths of the Moroccans and Libyans, but rather reported the killing of the three Tunisians: Abu Khalil, Abdul Rahman and Abu Magida al-Tunisi; and two Moroccans: Sabbar al Maghribi and Abu Taher.

Syria has rapidly become a new front for global jihadists. Foreign fighters from the Palestinian Territories have also been killed while waging jihad in Syria.

The Al Nusrah Front and other terror groups have conducted at least 25 suicide attacks in Syria since the end of December 2011. See LWJ report, Suicide bombings become commonplace in Syria, for more information.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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