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.
In the UNSC’s new report on the Islamic State, al Qaeda, and affiliated groups, the UN states that the Uzbek jihadist group, the Islamic Jihad Union, operates in Syria. This was not previously known.
The Turkistan Islamic Party, “Incite the Believers” operations room and Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham are all battling Bashar al-Assad’s loyalists in Latakia, Syria.
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.
In a message released on Feb. 5, al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri harshly criticizes the jihadists in Syria. He says they are engaged in a misguided “competition” for “imagined authority” over territory that is under the oversight “of secular Turkish checkpoints.”
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.
Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), a US and UN-designated terrorist organization, has strengthened its grip on northwestern Syria in recent weeks. HTS has seized ground from rival insurgents.
The “Incite the Believers” operations room has called for an independent sharia court to settle the disputes between rival insurgents in Syria. “Incite the Believers” was established by the “Guardians of Religion” organization, Ansar al-Din Front, and Ansar al-Islam late last year.