Sami al-Uraydi, a Jordanian national and senior leader within al-Qaeda’s official branch in Syria, has been designated.
AL Qaeda’s operatives are fighting in more countries around the world today than was the case on 9/11. And its leaders still want to target the United States and its interest and allies. The war they started is far from over.
A report by the United Nations includes new details concerning the dispute between Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) and al Qaeda’s senior leaders, including the role played by two veteran operatives living in Iran. The UN’s member states say that HTS is still in “contact” with al Qaeda’s leadership despite their heated disagreements, and that al Qaeda has even reinforced HTS with “military and explosives experts” sent from Afghanistan.
The State Department has amended the terrorist designation for Al Nusrah Front to include the “alias” Hay’at Tahrir al Sham (HTS). State’s announcement indicates that the US government still considers HTS to be part of al Qaeda’s network, despite the jihadists’ vitriolic disputes over its formation. State didn’t explain its reasoning behind the move.
Hay’at Tahrir al Sham has released two videos and a short statement claiming that its men downed a Russian warplane. The Russian defense ministry confirmed that the jet was lost after it was struck by a “a portable anti-aircraft missile system.”
A jihadist known as Abu Abdullah has responded to claims made by a senior Hay’at Tahrir al Sham figure. Abu Abdullah identifies himself as al Qaeda’s “external communication officer,” a previously undisclosed position, and says that al Qaeda’s senior leaders are able to communicate with their representatives around the globe on an “almost daily” basis.
The jihad in Syria has unleashed another leadership crisis for al Qaeda.
In a new message, Hamza bin Laden praises the jihadists fighting to establish an “Islamic government” in Syria. But he warns that their enemies seek to “divide” their “ranks.”
“Since at least 2009,” the State Department says in a recently released report, “Iran has allowed AQ [al Qaeda] facilitators to operate a core facilitation pipeline through the country, enabling AQ to move funds and fighters to South Asia and Syria.”
Hay’at Tahrir al Sham (HTS), a coalition that includes the group formerly known as Al Nusrah Front, launched a campaign against alleged Islamic State operatives in the Idlib province earlier today. HTS has repeatedly accused Abu Bakr al Baghdadi’s men of forming cells to attack their jihadist rivals in HTS and allied groups.
The Department of Justice announced on June 29 that Abdirahman Sheik Mohamud pleaded guilty nearly two years ago to training with and fighting for Al Nusrah Front in Syria. Al Nusrah “instructed” Mohamud “to return to the US and commit an act of terrorism.” He admittedly planned to kill American “military officers or other government employees or people in uniform.”
Sheikh Abdallah Muhammad al Muhaysini, a leading cleric in Hay’at Tahrir al Sham, claims that a suicide bomber tried to kill him outside of a mosque in Idlib, Syria earlier today.
The $10 million reward makes Julani one of the top five most wanted jihadist leaders in the world.
In a new audio message, Ayman al Zawahiri warns jihadists that they should avoid a strictly “nationalist” agenda in Syria. He also says the jihadists should focus on waging a “guerrilla” war inside Syria and not place too much emphasis on controlling territory at this time. Zawahiri’s words are likely intended to influence some of the debates occurring within jihadist circles.
The State Department announced yesterday that two Canadian citizens have been added to the US government’s list designated terrorists. Tarek Sakr has been “linked” to al Qaeda’s “affiliate” in Syria and Farah Mohamed Shirdon is a member of the Islamic State. According to press reports, jihadists associated with Sakr are suspected of playing a role in the kidnappings of two Americans in Syria.
The policy debate concerning Syria must reflect on-the-ground realities. The war is a complex, multi-sided affair with no easy solutions.
The US Treasury Department designated Muhammad Hadi al-‘Anizi as an al Qaeda terrorist earlier this month. He was detained in Afghanistan in late 2001 at the age of 15. Al-‘Anizi was freed and thanked Kuwait’s leadership for his repatriation. He is now based in Kuwait.
Jihadists, Islamists and rebel groups affiliated with the Free Syrian Army (FSA) launched a new offensive against Bashar al Assad’s regime in northern Hama province earlier this week. Hay’at Tahrir al Sham, al Qaeda’s joint venture in Syria, is playing a prominent role in the fighting, dispatching several suicide bombers and its “special forces.” Upwards of 10 or more FSA-branded groups are participating as well.
Hay’at Tahrir al Sham (HTS), Ahrar al Sham, and the Free Syrian Army-affiliated Faylaq al Rahman launched a surprise offensive against Bashar al Assad’s regime in Damascus yesterday. HTS, an al Qaeda front group, has been stepping up its attacks in the Syrian capital in recent weeks.
Abu Jaber (also known as Hashem al Sheikh), the leader of Hay’at Tahrir al Sham (HTS), has released a message commemorating the sixth anniversary of the Syrian revolution. He portrays HTS as a popular revolutionary force and calls on other rebel groups to join it for the sake of “unity.” He also promises to “escalate” operations against Bashar al Assad’s regime.
The US bombed what it says was a suspected al Qaeda “meeting location” in Syria. The airstrikes were immediately controversial, as Syrian activists and others said that the building hit was a mosque. The US has stepped up its air campaign in Syria since the beginning of the year by going after larger facilities suspected of being run by al Qaeda.
The US Treasury Department announced today that Muhammad Hadi al-`Anizi, a Kuwait-based “facilitator and financier” for al Qaeda and its Syrian branch, has been designated as a terrorist. Al Qaeda’s senior leadership appointed Al-`Anizi as al Qaeda’s “representative in Syria” sometime in 2014. His brother was previously designated by Treasury, which has repeatedly targeted al Qaeda’s support network in Kuwait.
Al Qaeda has released a eulogy for Abu al Khayr al Masri, who was killed in a US airstrike in Idlib, Syria in late February. The eulogy emphasizes his close relationship with Osama bin Laden and his role as al Qaeda’s “representative” in meetings with the Taliban. Once in Syria, Masri was “honored” to oversee “combat operations” in the insurgents’ “management and planning rooms.”
The US killed al Qaeda veteran Abu al Khayr al Masri in a drone strike in Idlib, Syria in late February. Masri was identified as al Qaeda’s “general deputy” in July 2016. He worked to unite Syrian rebel groups under a common banner.
Hay’at Tahrir al Sham (HTS), a newly formed group that includes al Qaeda’s Syrian arm, launched a complex assault on the Assad regime’s security services in the city of Homs earlier today. A high-ranking military intelligence official was killed in the suicide raid.
The US Treasury Department and the UN have added two senior jihadists to their terror sanctions lists. Both of them were leaders in the group formerly known as Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda’s official branch in Syria. Treasury’s announcement provides new details about al Qaeda’s operations in Syria, including the organization’s history and personnel.
Five groups, including al Qaeda’s rebranded branch, have announced the creation of a new group in Syria. The move comes after weeks of reported disagreements and clashes between the insurgents in northern Syria.
A B-52 bomber and a number of remotely piloted aircraft pounded an al Qaeda camp in Syria. The US has already launched five attacks against al Qaeda’s network in Syria since the beginning of 2017.
Abd al-Jalil al-Muslimi waged jihad in Afghanistan and Yemen, and had “extensive and long-standing ties to numerous al Qaeda external operations planners and terrorists” before he was killed, according tot he US military. Mohammad Habib Boussadoun al-Tunisi was an external operations leader who plotted against the West.
The Pentagon is still assessing the results of airstrikes on Jan. 1 and Jan. 3 in northern Syria, but it is believed that 20 al Qaeda “militants” were killed in the bombings. The airstrikes are likely among the most significant carried out against al Qaeda in Syria since Sept. 2014. President Obama reportedly authorized a more robust air campaign against al Qaeda in Syria late last year, after the administration had previously defined down the threat.