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.