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.
The US Treasury Department designated Abu Sulayman al Muhajir as an al Qaeda terrorist on May 19. He has been active on social media in the past, but does not appear to have maintained a Twitter feed in months. In the past 24 hours, Abu Sulayman returned to Twitter and also started a Telegram channel.
The Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda’s official branch in Syria, has released a mini-documentary on the jihadists’ quest to resurrect the caliphate. Contrary to highly dubious claims that the group was going to break from al Qaeda, Al Nusrah celebrates al Qaeda’s history, including the 9/11 attacks.
Abu Sulayman al Muhajir, a member of the Al Nusrah Front’s Sharia Committee, has now joined other al Qaeda members and branches in expressing solidarity with the Islamic State; but such expressions of support are not pledges of loyalty or allegiance.
Nasir al Wuhayshi, who is the emir of AQAP as well as al Qaeda’s general manager, has released a poem praising Ayman al Zawahiri as the “Sheikh father.” A video from two leading AQAP ideologues decrying the “slander” of jihadist leaders was released shortly afterwards. Al Qaeda members are trumpeting the messages as rebuttals to the Islamic State and its newly announced caliphate.
The Islamic State’s jihadist rivals in Syria have rejected its claim to have established a Caliphate. Leading ideologues in the Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda’s official branch in Syria, have rejected the Islamic State’s announcement as well.
A top sharia official in the Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda’s official branch in Syria, says that a suicide bomber who recently took part in a coordinated assault was known as Abu Hurayra al Amriki, or Abu Hurayra “the American.” The bomber’s identity has not been confirmed by US officials.
The Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda’s official branch in Syria, is using Twitter to raise funds for a new Islamic institute.
Abu Sulayman al Muhajir used his Twitter account to condemn the killing of Abu Muhammad al Fateh, the Al Nusrah Front’s leader in the province of Idlib, Syria. Sulayman says that Fateh joined al Qaeda in Iraq in 2005 and went on to become a confidante of Abu Muhammad al Julani, Al Nusrah’s emir.
An Al Nusrah Front video released on March 17 features Abu Sulayman al Muhajir, who was an extremist preacher in Australia. Abu Sulayman says he relocated to Syria, where he was part of al Qaeda’s mediation effort in the dispute between Al Nusrah and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham (ISIS). He criticizes ISIS in the video.