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DECEMBER 2020

Syrian Airstrike Injures Prominent Al-Qaeda Scholar, Kills His Bodyguard

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Syrian Airstrike Injures Prominent Al-Qaeda Scholar, Kills His Bodyguard

Abdullah al-Muhaysini in a propaganda video.

Prominent al-Qaeda Scholar Abdullah al-Muhaysini was injured in a Syrian airstrike on the opposition-held part of the northern Hama countryside on July 9.

According to Step News, an Idlib-based outlet, a warplane of the Syrian Arab Air Force (SyAAF) targeted al-Muhaysini and a group of his fighters when they were building fortifications. One of al-Muhaysini’s bodyguards, an infamous terrorist known as Abu U’said, was reportedly killed in the airstrike.

While most opposition sources promote al-Muhaysini as an independent scholar, the U.S. revealed that he was appointed as a religious advisor for the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front in 2015. Now, the al-Nusra Front is known as Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS)

Al-Muhaysini, who is a Saudi national, is also well-known for serving as a religious judge in the al-Qaeda-led Army of Conquest, which captured large parts of Idlib in 2015 and committed numerous war crimes.

In 2016, al-Muhaysini publicly fundraised a failed offensive on Aleppo. A notable part of the money was reprotedly collected from Qatar. In the same year, he was sanctioned by the U.S. Department of the Treasury for financing al-Qaeda.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain designated al-Muhaysini as a financer for several terrorist groups in 2017 and accused him of received support from Qatar.

Al-Muhaysini is known for playing the role of moderator between different terrorist groups in Syria. The Saudi scholar even attempted to effect a truce between the al-Nusra Front and ISIS in 2014.

To this day, al-Muhaysini remains one of the most dangerous figures in Greater Idlib. In this light, the recent incident may be an indication that Damascus and its allies are working to eliminate terrorist leaders and linked to them influencers in the “de-escalation zone”.

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