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.
The Islamic State’s propagandists continue to take aim at rival jihadists, including al Qaeda and Hay’at Tahrir al Sham (HTS). A recent Islamic State video calls upon HTS fighters to defect to the so-called caliphate’s cause.
The latest edition of al Qaeda’s Al-Nafir news bulletin addresses the jihadists’ infighting in Syria. Al Qaeda has been forced to comment on the disputes multiple times over the past year.
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.
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.”
Al Qaeda’s general leadership and regional branches have released statements denouncing the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
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.