According to the UN’s Jan. 2019 assessment, al Qaeda’s relationship with the Taliban is “long-standing” and “strong.” And al Qaeda “continues to see Afghanistan as a safe haven for its leadership.” The UN estimates that the Islamic State has several thousand fighters in Afghanistan as well.
Salahadin al Uzbeki, a veteran of the jihad in Afghanistan and leader of the Taliban-loyal Katibat Imam al Bukhari, has reportedly been assassinated by an “Islamic State infiltrator” in Idlib.
The foreign jihadists are operating within Jaysh al Fateh’s renewed offensive in Latakia, in which several Free Syrian Army groups are also taking part.
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 fighters shown training in urban Aleppo in the video are part of the Uzbek battalion’s ‘commando forces’ in Aleppo.
Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook confirmed today that the US targeted Abu Firas al Suri, a veteran al Qaeda leader, in an airstrike in Syria. Within hours of the bombing yesterday, jihadists on social media claimed that Abu Firas had perished. Separately, Cook confirmed that Hassan Ali Dhoore, a dual hatted al Qaeda and Shabaab leader, was killed in an airstrike in Somalia on Mar. 31.
On the same day that Katibat al Tawhid wal Jihad, a mainly Uzbek jihadist group, swore allegiance to Al Nusrah Front, it claimed an attack on Russian forces in the Latakia province of Syria.