Another caliph is dead. A new one, Abu Hafs al-Hashimi al-Quraishi, has been appointed.
Iranian-backed militias are taking part in the battle for northwestern Syria.
Since the beginning of the year, Hay’at Tahrir al Sham has utilized at least 12 suicide bombers in defense of Idlib from advancing regime forces.
Four Americans, including two service members, were killed when an Islamic State suicide bomber struck in Manbij, Syria earlier today.
The policy debate concerning Syria must reflect on-the-ground realities. The war is a complex, multi-sided affair with no easy solutions.
As each side converges on the Islamic State-held city of al-Bab, a military confrontation between Turkish-led rebels and pro-regime forces appear inescapable. In the meantime, tensions between Ankara and Moscow are rising yet again, risking pulling the United States and NATO further into the Syrian theater.
Al Qaeda’s rebranded guerrilla army in Syria is fighting alongside other jihadists, Islamists and Free Syrian Army-branded rebels in an offensive intended to break the Assad regime’s siege of Aleppo. Most of the participating groups belong to two coalitions: Jaysh al Fath (“Army of Conquest”) and Fatah Halab (“Aleppo Conquest”). These same two alliances tried and failed to break the siege earlier this year.
Top commanders in the Quds Brigade, a Palestinian militia allied with the Syrian government that operates in Aleppo, have been photographed receiving medals from Russian military officers for battlefield victories.
The Quds Brigade, known as Liwa al Quds or the Syrian Arab Army Fedayeen, is a Palestinian paramilitary group fighting on the side of Bashar al Assad in Aleppo.
The Islamic State issued a “martyrdom” statement today for Abu Muhammad al Adnani, who was one of the group’s top leaders and spokesman. The Defense Department subsequently confirmed that Adnani was targeted in an airstrike, but added that his status was still being assessed. The Pentagon described Adnani as the “principal architect” of the Islamic State’s “external operations,” meaning the part of the organization devoted to planning attacks in the West and elsewhere abroad.
Jaysh al Tahrir, a group that has received several US TOW anti-tank missiles in the past, fought with the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in northern Aleppo. The SDF is the main anti-Islamic State fighting force for the United States and has received considerable support from the West.
The Iranian-backed Iraqi Shia militia has shown off a considerable troop deployment to the frontlines of Aleppo just days after Iranian media reported the move.
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.
Iran has announced casualties coinciding with the latest battles for Aleppo, reflecting its deep military involvement in Syria.
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 two Uzbek groups are fighting with the Jaysh al Fateh coalition as part of its renewed offensive in southern Aleppo.
The small Chechen and North Caucasian group loyal to the Caucasus Emirate continues to highlight its presence in Aleppo.
The fighters shown training in urban Aleppo in the video are part of the Uzbek battalion’s ‘commando forces’ in Aleppo.
The Uzbek Imam Bukhari Jamaat joins several other jihadist groups and rebel factions in the battle for the Aleppo neighborhood of Sheikh Maqsud.
The Syrian government says that a fighter jet was downed by a surface to air missile in the Aleppo province earlier today. There are conflicting reports concerning how the plane was hit. Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda’s official branch in Syria, has the pilot in custody and another al Qaeda-linked group, Ahrar al Sham, has claimed responsibility for downing the jet.
Al Nusrah Front claims to have captured a small village near the Talat al-‘Iss hill in the Aleppo province. Three suicide bombers were used to pave the way for the jihadists. The battle is part of Al Nusrah’s attempt to regain in the initiative in the war against Bashar al Assad and his allies. A Syrian regime source has told the press that the hill is a strategic location.
The small North Caucasian group does not play a significant role in the fighting, however, its inclusion is still important as it provides extra manpower to al Qaeda and its other allies against the regime and Kurdish forces.
Several rebel groups in Syria’s Aleppo province have united under the leadership of Hashem al Sheikh, who was the emir of Ahrar al Sham from September 2014 to September 2015. The alliance doesn’t include Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda’s official branch in Syria, but its constituents will almost certainly continue to cooperate with al Qaeda’s men.
An American citizen, Amin al Baroudi, pleaded guilty to violating US sanctions by providing “tactical equipment” to Ahrar al Sham, which is allied with al Qaeda’s arm in Syria.
Iranian-backed Shia militias are fighting for Assad in Aleppo as regime forces, backed by Hezbollah and Russian airstrikes, try to push back jihadists and rebels in the northern province.
The photos mark one of the first times a Humvee has been captured by a jihadist group in Syria, and indicate that Iraqi militias have transported US-made military hardware from Iraq to Syria.
With the help of Russian airstrikes, Bashar al Assad’s military and paramilitary allies have broken the Islamic State’s siege of the Kweiris air base in Aleppo province. Hezbollah and other Iranian-backed militant organizations supported the Syrian military’s offensive.
Jund al Aqsa, an al Qaeda front group, claims to have seized all or parts of Morek, a key town that sits on a major highway connecting Aleppo and Hama. In October, Jund al Aqsa broke with the Jaysh al Fateh coalition, which was co-founded by Al Nusrah Front, but the organization remains loyal to al Qaeda.
The photo comes just days after Soleimani was spotted in Latakia addressing Iranian and Syrian troops. The Syrian regime also relies on Shiite militias from Iraq and elsewhere, which are often trained and advised by the Iranian Qods Force.
The Islamic State has issued a statement claiming to have captured several key towns north of the city of Aleppo. The group’s campaign in Aleppo province had stalled until Russia began targeting some of its opposition, including Free Syrian Army units.