The foreign fighters include one Canadian and three French-speaking militants. The latter bunch likely belong to Omar Diaby’s Firqatul Ghuraba, a French jihadist outfit in Syria.
In a lengthy audio message released on Apr. 22, Islamic State spokesman Abu-al-Hasan al-Muhajir claims that the US is retreating from Iraq and Syria. He argues that his group is in a better condition than when the US withdrew its forces from Iraq in 2011. He advises the Islamic State’s members that they should prepare for the war against the Russians and Iranians, who are filling the void left by the Americans.
Earlier today, Israel struck the T-4 military air base in Syria’s Homs Governorate. At least four Iranians including a Colonel died in the attack.
The US-led coalition said in a statement that “much work remains to defeat” Abu Bakr al Baghdadi’s organization in Iraq and Syria. The statement is at odds with the White House’s view that ISIS has been “almost completely destroyed.”
The White House declared on Apr. 4 that the “military mission to eradicate ISIS in Syria is coming to a rapid end, with ISIS being almost completely destroyed.” But ISIS continues to operate in several areas of Syria, as well as in Iraq, which wasn’t even mentioned in the White House’s statement.
Jihadists and Islamists in Syria have denounced the US government’s decision to designate Katibat Imam al Bukhari (KIB) as a terrorist organization. The KIB’s own statement on the designation includes misleading claims and some of those defending the group have their own al Qaeda links.
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.
The State Department announced today that Joe Asperman, a French national, has been designated as a terrorist. Asperman works as “a senior chemical weapons expert for ISIS” and “oversaw chemical operations production within Syria for ISIS and the deployment of these chemical weapons at the battlefront.”