A new U.S. strike on the northwestern Syrian region of Greater Idlib has killed a number of al-Qaeda commanders, smugglers and tribal leaders.
The strike, which took place late on October 22, targeted a tent near the town of Salqin, on the Syrian-Turkish border, where the said personnel were holding a dinner.
In a statement, the U.S. Central Command, CENTCOM, said the strike will disrupt al-Qaeda’s ability to further plot and carry out global attacks threatening U.S. citizens, partners and innocent civilians.
“Al-Qaeda – Syria takes advantage of the instability in northwest Syria to establish and maintain safe havens to coordinate terrorist activities. With our allies and partners, we will continue to target al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations,” the statement reads.
Local sources revealed that the high-profile dinner was hosted by a notorious smuggler, Samir al-Hassan Ibrahim “al-Suad.” The smuggler, who is allegedly affiliated with Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), was killed in the U.S. strike along with his two brothers, Amir and Ibrahim.
The strike also claimed the lives of Hammud al-Saharah and Abu Talha al-Hadidi, two prominent military commanders who defected from HTS in 2018. Al-Saharah’s bodyguard, Ali Fateh, was killed with him.
Al-Saharah was HTS’ Emir [Commander] of Aleppo, while al-Hadidi was the Emir of al-Badyia [a vast desert region between western Aleppo and Homs]. The two defectors joined their forces in December of 2018 to form the “al-Fatah Brigades,” an al-Qaeda-affilated group.
At least three local tribal leaders were also killed in the U.S. strike. The leaders were identified as Hassan Dihiban, a local Sheikh from the Ghab Plains in Hama, Ahmad Jarah, a Sheikh of the Al Samatiyah tribe in Hama, and Abu Hassan Shash, a Sheikh of Al Akidat and Al Bujamel.
Salqing’s dinner bombing is the most recent in a series of U.S. strikes on jihadi figures taking shelter in Greater Idlib. The strikes have been ongoing for more than a year now.
The region, which is being ruled by HTS, has become a large safe heaven for terrorists fleeing other parts of Syria and neighboring countries.
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