Katibat Imam al Bukhari (also known as the Imam Bukhari Jamaat), an Uzbek jihadist group that operates in Syria and Afghanistan, has been formally designated as a terrorist organization by the US State Department today.
As the siege continues into its second day, thousands of civilians have been forced to flee and martial law has been declared inside Marawi city.
The clashes are currently ongoing, but pictures circulating online appear to show jihadist forces openly moving about the city. At least one policemen is reported killed and five soldiers wounded so far.
Salahadin al Uzbeki, a veteran of the jihad in Afghanistan and leader of the Taliban-loyal Katibat Imam al Bukhari, has reportedly been assassinated by an “Islamic State infiltrator” in Idlib.
More than 20 jihadist, Islamist and other rebel organizations took part in the offensive to break the siege of Aleppo. It was likely one of the largest combined efforts in the history of the Syrian war.
The foreign jihadists are operating within Jaysh al Fateh’s renewed offensive in Latakia, in which several Free Syrian Army groups are also taking part.
The Jaysh al Fateh alliance captured three more villages in the southern countryside of Aleppo during an offensive that began on June 17. The jihadist-led coalition has made steady gains in Aleppo province since May, further demonstrating al Qaeda’s prowess in guerrilla warfare.
Jaish Muhammad is the latest foreign fighter group to join the Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda’s official branch in Syria.