Abu Muhammad al Ansari.
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham is reported to have killed Abu Muhammad al Ansari, the leader of the Al Nusrah Front for the People of the Levant in Idlib province. The report has not been officially confirmed by the Al Nusrah Front.
Al Ansari’s death was reported by “trusted sources” to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an independent media group that covers the Syrian civil war.
According to the Observatory, “4 ISIS sleepers from Harem area entered his house last night in Ras Al-Hesen village” in Idlib province “in order to check on his [al Ansari’s] health after an accident he was exposed to few days ago.” The ISIS assassination team “killed his wife, his 2 children, and both of his brothers, who were in the house.”
Al Ansari’s death has not been confirmed by the Al Nusrah Front or top jihadist leaders in the group. However there are numerous reports of his death on the social media pages of various jihadists in Syria.
The Al Nusrah Front and the ISIS, which was disowned by al Qaeda’s General Command earlier this year for failing to resolve differences with rival jihadist and Syrian rebel groups, have been clashing for months. The ISIS has targeted and killed senior Al Nusrah Front leaders in the past. The ISIS is accused of killing Abu Khalid al Suri, al Qaeda’s representative to Syria, in a suicide attack in Aleppo at the end of February.
The Al Nusrah Front’s emir, Abu Muhammad al Julani, has been at odds with Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, the leader of the ISIS, after the latter attempted to subsume the Al Nusrah Front into the Islamic State in April 2013. Al Julani refused, and was backed by Ayman al Zawahiri, the head of al Qaeda.
Al Qaeda has attempted to mediate the dispute and has called on the ISIS to submit to sharia, or Islamic, courts in order to resolve the problems. Al Baghdadi has refused, and the two groups began clashing in late 2013.
At the end of February 2014, al Julani issued an ultimatum for the ISIS to end its attacks on jihadist and rebel units in Syria or the groups will destroy the ISIS in both Syria and in Iraq. He quickly backed down as al Qaeda has continued to attempt to resolve the dispute peaceably.