Two prominent jihadist ideologues, Sheikh Abdullah al-Muhaysini and Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi, are engaged in a war of words over Erdoğan’s Turkey. The relationship between the jihadists in Syria and Turkey has long been a point of contention and the heated rhetoric reveals that it isn’t likely to subside soon.
The head of the Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP), Abdul Haq al-Turkistani, has called on jihadist “scholars” to do more to address the plight of Uighurs. Al-Turkistani addresses his message to Taliban leader Haibatullah Akhunzada, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and a number of al Qaeda ideologues.
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.
Jihadis on social media claim that Abu Julaybib al-Urduni, an al Qaeda loyalist, has been killed in Syria. Abu Julaybib helped found Al Nusrah Front, but later had a falling out with Al Nusrah’s leader over the group’s “disassociation” from al Qaeda and other issues.
A Taliban video eulogy for Jalaluddin Haqqani includes praise from three jihadists based in the UK and Syria: Hani al-Sibai, Dr. Abdullah al-Muhaysini and Sheikh Muslih al-Ulyani. Sibai is a well-known, pro-al Qaeda ideologue living in the UK. Muhaysini is a US-designated terrorist. Both Muhaysini and Ulyani operate in Syria.
The Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP) in Afghanistan and Syria has long operated as part of the Taliban-al Qaeda axis. Earlier this year, however, the TIP’s Syrian branch sided with Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) during its battles with other rebel groups. This infighting and related events have complicated the picture with respect to the TIP in Syria. One TIP-affiliated outlet claimed earlier this year that the group’s senior management had sent new leadership from Afghanistan to Syria.
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.
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.”
While Katibat al Ghuraba al Turkistan (KGT) appears to be small, it is yet another group in northwestern Syria containing ethnic Uighurs.
Al Qaeda’s general leadership and regional branches have released statements denouncing the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
In a new message, Ayman al Zawahiri holds up the Taliban-al Qaeda relationship as a model for jihadists around the globe. He also critiques the jihadists and Islamists in Egypt and Syria who think they can “deceive” America and achieve power by placating the US.
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.
Hay’at Tahrir al Sham (HTS), a newly formed group that includes al Qaeda’s Syrian arm, launched a complex assault on the Assad regime’s security services in the city of Homs earlier today. A high-ranking military intelligence official was killed in the suicide raid.
Five groups, including al Qaeda’s rebranded branch, have announced the creation of a new group in Syria. The move comes after weeks of reported disagreements and clashes between the insurgents in northern Syria.
Ayman al Zawahiri eulogizes two slain al Qaeda veterans in a newly released video. Zawahiri praises the pair for their contributions to jihad. The production is laced with criticisms of Abu Bakr al Baghdadi’s Islamic State.
The US Treasury Department designated Dr. Abdallah Muhammad al Muhaysini and three other jihadists in Syria today. All four of them have worked for Al Nusrah Front, now known as Jabhat Fath al Sham (JFS), which is al Qaeda’s arm in Syria. Muhaysini claims to be an “independent” cleric, but Treasury says he is part of Al Nusrah’s “inner leadership circle.”
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.
Jabhat Fath al Sham, al Qaeda’s rebranded branch in Syria, announced earlier today that Ahmed Salama Mabrouk has been killed in an airstrike in Idlib. Mabrouk was an Egyptian al Qaeda veteran and served on Jabhat Fath al Sham’s elite shura council.
A helicopter carrying three French soldiers crashed near Benghazi, Libya on July 17, killing the Frenchmen and their Libyan counterparts on board. A new jihadist front called the Benghazi Defense Brigades quickly claimed credit, saying its fighters downed the helo with a shoulder-fired missile. French President Hollande said it was an “accident.” Either way, jihadists and Islamists are now rattling their sabres at France.
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 Turkistan Islamic Party released an audio message from its leader, Abdul Haq, on May 30. The message is the latest indication that Abdul Haq survived a US drone strike in 2010. The man identified as Haq blasts the Islamic State’s so-called caliphate and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), which swore allegiance to Abu Bakr al Baghdadi in 2015. Haq claims the IMU has “disappeared” since.
The Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP) has released a series of photos documenting its “spoils” from a new round of fighting in Syria’s Aleppo province. Jaysh al Fath, an alliance of several groups, launched the offensive against Bashar al Assad’s regime and its allies earlier this week. The TIP is fighting alongside Al Nusrah Front, which is al Qaeda’s official branch in Syria, and Jund al Aqsa, an al Qaeda front group.
Sheikh Abdallah Muhammad al Muhaysini has launched a new jihadist recruiting campaign throughout Syria. 200 sharia officials from various factions have fanned out across Syria in an attempt to recruit 5,000 new “mujahideen.” Muhaysini has multiple links to al Qaeda’s international network.
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.
While the Islamic State gets most of the attention for the training camps it runs for children, it is not the only jihadist group in Syria that does so.
Sixteen jihadists, including 11 from the Al Nusrah Front and Ahrar al Sham, have issued a statement on behalf of the “muhajireen” (foreign fighters) saying they will continue to fight the Islamic State throughout Syria.
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.
Jihadists aligned with al Qaeda’s international network mourned the death of Harith bin Ghazi al Nadhari, a senior AQAP sharia official, shortly after AQAP confirmed that he had been killed in a US drone strike.
A popular pro-al Qaeda jihadist ideologue who relocated from Saudi Arabia to Syria last year has criticized the Islamic State’s rivals on his Twitter feed. Abdallah Muhammad al Muhaysini says that the failures of various jihadist leaders have driven the youth into the Islamic State’s arms.