The U.S. State Department has offered rewards of up to $5 million each for information concerning three al Qaeda leaders in Syria. All three have been involved in the heated disagreements over jihadi strategy and leadership in the Levant.
CENTCOM says the U.S. targeted a group of al Qaeda operatives in Syria who were “responsible for plotting external attacks threatening U.S. citizens, our partners, and innocent civilians.” According to jihadists online, the operatives belonged to Hurras al-Din (the “Guardians of Religion” organization).
The Guardians of Religion organization has praised recent operations conducted by the Taliban and Shabaab.
Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham and Hurras al-Din have quarreled for more than a year. Recently, they reached a new accord. Abu ‘Abd al-Karim al-Masri, a member of al Qaeda’s shura council, has played a key role in attempting to mediate their disputes in the past.
Abu Hammam al-Shami and Dr. Sami al-Uraydi have rejected a proposal that they say would create a new military council in northern Syria under the leadership of an Assad regime dissident. The proposal was allegedly put forth by Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham’s leaders, whom al-Shami and al-Uraydi have quarreled with in the past.
Three jihadist factions in Syria announced today that they have joined the “Guardians of the Religion” organization. Al Qaeda-affiliated social media channels have promoted the new group, which was formed as a result of jihadist infighting and leadership disputes in Syria.
An Al Nusrah Front video features Abu Hammam al Shami, an al Qaeda veteran who swore allegiance to Osama bin Laden and has served al Qaeda’s senior leaders since the late 1990s. Abu Hammam criticizes the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham (ISIS) in the video.