On Aug. 27, Threat Matrix reported that online jihadists were expressing concern that impending strikes in Syria by the United States will targets jihadists in addition to sites tied to the Syrian regime.
While it remains unclear whether the United States will carry out attacks with its partners in Syria, jihadist groups continue to reiterate their concern that they too will be targeted.
Today, the English Twitter account of al Shabaab, al Qaeda’s affiliate in Somalia, released a series of tweets denouncing the US and Western states in addition to warning “our Mujahideen brothers… that they’re the target of this military campaign.”
Here are the tweets from Shabaab in paragraph form.
For the nearly 3 years that Assad’s Nusayri regime terrorised the Muslims of Syria, US & its allies did nothing to help the people of Syria. 3 years of horrific atrocities resulted in the death of more than 120000 Muslims & US and its allies watched as Assad butchered Muslims.
For all that time, they kept regurgitating the same old empty rhetoric like a broken record so why have they decided to act at this juncture. For exacerbate the situation, Western nations concentrated their efforts against the Mujahideen who were key to containing Assad’s forces.
And today when the Mujahideen have become stronger and captured vast swathes of land from the apostate regime, Western nations interfere. That the Mujahideen are gaining land, applying Shari’ah and have the support of the Syrian people has become intolerable to the Crusaders.
Now they’re considering military strikes when in fact their aim is to prevent the Mujahideen from gaining ascendancy and winning hearts. Another objective of the West is to completely sabotage Assad’s weapons arsenal so that they do not fall into the hands of the Mujahideen.
But central to all this sabre-rattling is the protection of Zionist regime & keeping the Jewish slime forever ingrained in Muslim lands. We advise our Mujahideen brothers in Syria to be very cautious of the enemy plots and know that they’re the target of this military campaign. The Muslims of Syria should understand that the US and Assad are merely 2 sides of the same coin; both are enemies bent on your destruction.
In addition to the tweets from Shabaab, the Ibn Taymiyyah Media Center (ITMC), a jihadist media unit tied to the Gaza-based Mujahideen Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem, released a series of tweets today related to the situation in Syria. The tweets, which were subsequently repackaged into a de facto statement on jihadist forums, comes two days after the ITMC released a video of Fahd Nizar al Habbash, a former member of Hamas’ police force in Gaza who traveled to Syria in 2013, where he is believed to have died fighting alongside the Al Nusrah Front.
Like Shabaab, the ITMC warned that “the expected crusader strike on Syria” will likely target sites tied to the “mujahideen.” One tweet urged fighters to take the necessary security precautions to limit potential losses.
In another tweet, the jihadist media unit declared: “The Levant is the best strategic choice for the mujahideen and forfeiting it means losing a lot; therefore, the only presented option is victory no matter what.” The ITMC added that “[t]he battle in the Levant is connected to the fate of the whole Ummah.”
“The dreams of the mujahideen and their leaders in reaching Jerusalem and establishing the rightly-guided Caliphate” are closer than ever before, another tweet boasted. “The saying ‘we are at a distance of a stone’s throw away from Palestine’ became a tangible reality on the ground,” the ITMC continued.
Despite fears among jihadists, the likelihood that they will be targeted appears low. However, the possibility of an errant missile striking a group of jihadists remains. As Threat Matrix noted the other day:
While US HUMINT assets on the ground in Syria are said to range from none to a few, US drones are known to have operated and likely are still over the country. Additionally, according to a March report in the Los Angeles Times, the CIA has collected “intelligence on Islamic extremists … for possible lethal drone strikes” in Syria.
A strike on jihadists in Syria in the coming days would not be the first such incident for the United States. In fact, in October 2008, US forces carried out a raid that killed al Qaeda operative Abu Ghadiya while he was in Syria. At the time, a senior US official told The Long War Journal that the entire senior leadership cadre of Ghadiya’s network was also killed in the raid.
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