Islamic State emir Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi died during a daring overnight raid conducted by U.S. special operations forces in Idlib province in northeastern Syria, ending a two-year hunt for the group’s leader. His demise does not mean the end of the Islamic State is at hand.
Abu Saloh, the founder and first emir of Katibat al Tawhid wal Jihad, was arrested by HTS yesterday after the jihadist reportedly failed to pay his debts.
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.
A coalition of Qaeda-linked jihadist groups in northwestern Syria detail their recent operations.
The White House announced earlier today that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the head of the Islamic State, has been killed during a raid in Syria’s Idlib province. Under his leadership, the Islamic State grew into an international terrorist menace.
Abu Khallad al-Muhandis, an al Qaeda veteran, was reportedly killed in a mysterious explosion in Idlib, Syria earlier today. Muhandis’s jihadi career covered Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. He was also detained inside Iran for a time.
The Guardians of Religion organization has praised recent operations conducted by the Taliban and Shabaab.
Hay’at Tahrir al Sham (HTS), the most powerful jihadist organization in Idlib province, has finally issued a statement addressing the agreement reached between Turkey and Russia last month. HTS vows to continue waging jihad, and warns that it doesn’t trust Russia’s “intentions,” but does not directly repudiate the Sochi accord.
Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) has cut a deal with Bashar al-Assad’s regime to exchange thousands of residents in Kefraya and al-Fouah, two predominately Shiite towns in the northern province of Idlib, for 1,500 prisoners held in Assad’s prisons.
The Islamic State has targeted key jihadist and Islamist leaders in Idlib province in recent weeks. The so-called caliphate’s assassination campaign has focused on prominent figures in Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), as well as other groups.
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.
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.
Qatar recently secured the release of Qatari hostages, including members of the royal family. But its diplomatic victory was marred by reports that a multi-million dollar ransom was paid to a US-designated terrorist group and an al Qaeda-linked joint venture in Syria.
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.
The Pentagon announced that 11 al Qaeda operatives were killed in a pair of airstrikes near Idlib, Syria earlier this month. One of them, Abu Hani al Masri, is described as “a legacy al Qaeda terrorist with ties to the group’s senior leaders, including Ayman al Zawahiri and Osama bin Laden.”
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.
The Defense Department announced today that Haydar Kirkan, a veteran al Qaeda operative who was plotting against the West, was killed in an airstrike in Idlib, Syria on Oct. 17. Kirkan was one of several al Qaeda leaders targeted in Afghanistan, Syria and Yemen during the month of October. The Pentagon emphasized that the airstrikes demonstrate the “transregional nature” of al Qaeda.
Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda’s official branch in Syria, raided the 13th Division’s headquarters and seized its weapons. The 13th Division, which has received US-made TOW missiles, has long coexisted with the jihadists in northwestern Syria. But that all changed in the past 48 hours as al Qaeda’s men stormed its locations.
The Uighur jihadist group, with its longstanding ties to al Qaeda, continues to play a pivotal role assisting Al Nusrah Front in northwestern Syria.
Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda’s official branch in Syria, claims to have overrun the Abu Duhour airbase in Idlib. Al Nusrah also says that more than 100 of Bashar al Assad’s fighters were killed and an additional 60 or so captured during the fighting.
The Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda’s official branch in Syria, has issued a statement disavowing the massacre of Druze civilians in Idlib last week. The group doesn’t deny that its fighters are responsible for the slaughter, but claims that the jihadists disobeyed specific “directives” banning such acts.
With victory over Assad’s forces at the military camp, the al Qaeda-led coalition continues to overrun regime positions in Idlib province.
Propaganda photos posted by the Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda’s official branch in Syria, show what appears to be more than one hundred new graduates at a camp in Idlib.
The new video shows the group’s role in the recent fighting at Jisr al Shughur. The Turkistan Islamic Party has long fought in Syria alongside the Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda’s official branch in Syria.
The “Battle of Victory” coalition, which includes the Al Nusrah Front and several other jihadist groups, has declared victory in the city of Jisr Al Shughur. The battle for the city began several days ago and was the next step in the jihadists’ plans for conquering all of northwestern Syria. A highly influential al Qaeda-linked ideologue was reportedly wounded in the fighting.
The Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda’s official branch in Syria, and its allies formed a new coalition to battle regime forces in the northern city of Jisr Al Shughur. The alliance is modeled after the coalition that took control of the city of Idlib late last month.
Abu Muhammad al Julani, the leader of the Al Nusrah Front, said the jihadist coalition that took control of Idlib should remain united. He also stated that the jihadists should avoid “terrorizing” the people in order to build more popular support.
The Jaysh al Fateh coalition has captured the city of Idlib, or much of it. Propaganda photos posted online show jihadist groups, including the Al Nusrah Front, controlling government buildings and key facilities.
Photos and videos posted on social media show that Jaysh al Fateh, a coalition of several jihadist groups, has captured a number of Syrian regime checkpoints surrounding the city of Idlib.