The Islamic State has targeted key jihadist and Islamist leaders in Idlib province in recent weeks. The so-called caliphate’s assassination campaign has focused on prominent figures in Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), as well as other groups.
Ansar al-Islam raided an Assad regime military position in the Latakia province yesterday, killing more than two dozen Assad loyalists. The attack was widely celebrated on Sunni jihadist social media channels. Ansar al-Islam is a small jihadist group that originated in Iraq, but has fought in Syria for years.
The Islamic State claimed a suicide bombing that targeted the Assad regime and Russian forces in southern Syria yesterday. The group claims that 50 people were killed or wounded, while a pro-regime source reported “scores” of casualties. The operation was conducted by a jihadist dispatched by a new Islamic State “province,” but the group has operated in the area for years under another brand.
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 announced today that Hudhayfah al-Badri, the son of Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, has been killed during a raid on Syrian and Russian forces in Homs province. Al-Badri’s death was announced via a graphic that is part of the Islamic State’s “Caravan of the Martyrs” series, which has featured deceased jihadists from around the globe. The so-called caliphate has offered few details concerning al-Badri’s purported death.
Hay’at Tahrir al Sham (HTS) and its jihadist rivals in the “Guardians of Religion” organization have called on all Muslims to resist the Assad regime’s new offensive in southern Syria. However, severe infighting has limited the jihadists’ ability to launch sustained operations against the Assad regime and its allies.
Combined Joint Force Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR) announced today that four members of the Islamic State’s illicit gas and oil network were killed during “operations” on May 26. They were targeted in the Middle Euphrates River Valley. Separately, CJTF-OIR’s local partners seized and destroyed $1.4 million dollars worth of drugs from the so-called caliphate in southern Syria.
On May 23, Al-Badr Media Foundation announced its presence online, saying it will work to serve the interests of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and its supporters in several ways. AQAP remains under pressure and its media output has been degraded by a US-led campaign. Al-Badr is AQAP’s latest attempt to improve the group’s security measures and boost fighter morale.