Jihadists on social media say that two al Qaeda figures, Abu al Qassam and Bilal al Sanaani, were killed in a drone strike in Idlib. Their deaths haven’t been confirmed. Abu al Qassam was one of Abu Musab al Zarqawi’s closest comrades and an important al Qaeda figure in Idlib.
On March 19, Turkey’s defense ministry announced the death of two Turkish soldiers at the hands of “radical elements” in northwest Syria’s Idlib. The attack highlights Ankara’s challenges in the Syrian province.
The U.S. State Department has offered rewards of up to $5 million each for information concerning three al Qaeda leaders in Syria. All three have been involved in the heated disagreements over jihadi strategy and leadership in the Levant.
U.S. Central Command says an airstrike targeted al Qaeda in Syria (AQ-S) “leadership at a facility north of Idlib, Syria” earlier today. Jihadis on social media say the facility belonged to Ansar al-Tawhid, which is one of several al Qaeda-affiliated groups in Syria.
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.
Al Qaeda Telegram channels have shared a statement attributed to Saif al-Adel. He writes that the jihadis modify their military program to take into account Turkey’s influence.
CENTCOM says the U.S. targeted a group of al Qaeda operatives in Syria who were “responsible for plotting external attacks threatening U.S. citizens, our partners, and innocent civilians.” According to jihadists online, the operatives belonged to Hurras al-Din (the “Guardians of Religion” organization).
The Turkistan Islamic Party, “Incite the Believers” operations room and Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham are all battling Bashar al-Assad’s loyalists in Latakia, Syria.