Late on February 25, a large explosion rocked a hilltop overlooking the town of Arihah in the northwestern Syrian of Greater Idlib, where several terrorist groups are active.
Initially, opposition sources reported that a drone strike targeted a vehicle near the town, which is located in southern Idlib on the Lattakia-Aleppo highway. The sources claimed that three men were injured.
Nevertheless, these claims were retracted within a few minutes. Opposition sources released a video from the strike scene showing a large crater in the explosion scene.
Aside from what looks like a tunnel or a cave, the video did not show anything. No missile wreckage, damaged vehicle, structure or human remains were found at the scene.
Two months ago, a US drone targeted a truck that was passing on a road between the towns of Salqin and Isqat in northern Idlib. The identity of the target, who was reportedly a commander of an al-Qaeda-affiliated group, was not revealed back then because he survived.
Arihah’s explosion may be also the result of a failed US drone strike on an al-Qaeda commander. Idlib sources may have retracted their initial reports to protect the target.
Greater Idlib is today one of al-Qaeda’s largest safe havens around the world. While the US is hunting some al-Qaeda commanders, it continues to ignore the terrorist group’s main branch in the region, Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham.
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