Katibat al Tawhid wal Jihad (KTJ), a mainly Uzbek group that formally pledged allegiance to Al Nusrah Front on September 29, has claimed responsibility for an attack on the “Russian infidels” in the Latakia province. The claim could not be independently verified.
In a statement released on its official website, KTJ claims that its “rocket attacks” caused “serious damage” to Bashar al Assad’s regime and the “Russian infidels” at the Hamim military airbase. KTJ’s statement says the rockets were launched by the “jihadist unity in northwest Syria,” a reference to its formal merger with Al Nusrah, and that the “mujahideen” had carried out “several attacks” on the airbase with Grad rockets in the past.
In mid-September, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported “the arrival of warplanes loaded [with] military equipment as well as hundreds of Russian military advisers, experts and technicians” at the Hamim airbase.
Al Nusrah Front is al Qaeda’s official branch in Syria. When KTJ announced its bayat (allegiance) to Al Nusrah on September 29, it specifically noted that Al Nusrah “is operating as al Qaeda’s wing in Syria.” It was important to unite against the “Safavid [Iranian]-American-Russian alliance against Muslims,” KTJ stated. However, KTJ had long fought side-by-side with Al Nusrah and other al Qaeda-linked groups against the Assad regime.
KTJ posted the generic photo shown above along with its claim of responsibility for the rocket attack on Russian forces. The al Qaeda brigade did not provide any additional details, saying simply that “local sources” had supposedly corroborated the damage done.
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