Prominent al-Qaeda commander Ayad al-Tubasi, known as Abu Jleibib, was killed along with a group of his comrades in the southern Syrian governorate of Daraa, several Syrian opposition news outlet revealed on December 29.
Abu Jleibib, who was a brother-in-law of slain al-Qaeda leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, was among the first commanders of the terrorist group’s branch in Syria, the al-Nusra Front. The infamous terrorist was responsible for the operations of the group in southern Syria before fleeing to the northern governorate of Idlib in 2016.
In Idlib, Abu Jleibib faced several problems with al-Nsra Front, which was working to rebrand itself as Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS). After defecting from the terrorist group, he and other foreign Jihadists established a new branch of al-Qaeda in Syria become to be known as Horas al-Din.
According to opposition sources, Abu Jleibib returned to Daraa recently in order to organize an insurgency against the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and former Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters in southern Syria.
“May God accepts the Jordanian Muhajir [Islamic term used to descript foreign fighters] Sheikh Abu Jalibib, who was martyred with his Muhajireen brothers in Daraa, life became harder in Idlib so they went to restart the march of jihad in Daraa,” Abu Suraqa al-Shari, a former commander of HTS, wrote on his Telegram channel.
The Damascus government restored its control of entire southern Syria earlier this year after a quick military operation that lead to a reconciliation agreement. HTS militants were allowed to withdraw to Idlib.
Abu Jleibib’s plan to wreak havoc in southern Syria, once again, didn’t go well apparently. The Syrian intelligence was able to track him and his comrades, including Abu Talha al-Muhandis and Salman al-Tunisi, shortly after they arrived in Daraa. Later, the terrorists were eliminated in a special operation.
The assassination of Abu Jleibib is a strong blow to al-Qaeda in Syria and will hinder its plans to re-expand in the war-torn country on the long term.