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US air strike in northwest Syria killed seven al-Qaeda leaders, according to official figures


The United States believes it killed seven senior al-Qaeda leaders in an air strike in Syria last week when they met near the Turkish border, US Central Command said Monday.

A central command spokeswoman, Major Beth Riordan, said the strike took place on October 22nd in Idlib, northwest Syria. You have not identified the seven leaders by name.

"The removal of these AQ-S leaders will affect the terrorist organization's ability to further plan and conduct global attacks that threaten US citizens, our partners and innocent civilians," she said.

"AQ-S is taking advantage of the instability in northwest Syria to establish and maintain safe havens to coordinate terrorist activities," she added. "With our allies and partners, we will continue to take action against al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations."

A total of 17 jihadists died on strike, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The United States believes it killed seven senior al-Qaeda leaders in an air strike in Syria last week when the leaders met near the Turkish border (File photo – a remotely operated MQ-1B Predator aircraft flies during a training mission in Nevada over the head)

A total of 17 jihadists died in the strike (Photo: A US armored vehicle takes part in a patrol near the Rumaylan (Rmeilan) oil fields in the Kurdish-controlled northeastern province of Hasakeh in Syria.)

A total of 17 jihadists died in the strike (Photo: A US armored vehicle takes part in a patrol near the Rumaylan (Rmeilan) oil fields in the Kurdish-controlled northeastern Hasakeh province in Syria.)

In her statement, Riordan did not give the total number of deaths caused by the strike.

The UK-based observatory said the strike was aimed at a jihadist dinner in Jakara village in the Salqin region.

The village is located in Syria's last major rebel bastion, Idlib, which is dominated by the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham group, led by a former al-Qaida partner, and their rebel allies.

The chief of the observatory, Rami Abdel Rahman, told Military.com that five non-Syrian jihadists were among those killed, but their nationality was not immediately known.

"They were invited to dinner in a tent on a farm in Jakara," he said.

"It was a meeting of leaders who were against HTS and who oppose the Russo-Turkish agreements," which led to a fragile ceasefire in Idlib, he said. "Some were close to Hurras al-Deen."

The Idlib region is the largest area in Syria that is currently not under state control. Almost three million people live here.

Idlib is threatened on the one hand by the Syrian government forces, who are loyal to President Bashar Assad, who is supported by Russia, and on the other hand by the Turkish military, which is pulling more troops into the region.

The US carried out an air strike against al-Qaeda in Syria near Idlib on October 15.

US military officials said the drone attack was carried out by the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC).

Rahman said that a Jordanian and Yemeni military commanders from the al-Qaeda-affiliated Hurras al-Deen group were killed when a drone-fired missile hit their car.

People collect scrap steel scraps from the rubble and destruction in the town of Ihsim in the rebel-held northwestern province of Idlib in Syria on October 18

People collect scrap steel scraps from the rubble and destruction in the town of Ihsim in the rebel-held northwestern province of Idlib in Syria on October 18

The Idlib region is the largest area in Syria that is currently not under state control. Almost three million people live here

The Idlib region is the largest area in Syria that is currently not under state control. Almost three million people live here

On Sunday, Afghanistan claimed it killed a top al-Qaeda propagandist on one of the FBI's most wanted lists during an operation in the east of the country.

The reported death of Husam Abd al-Rauf, also known to the nom de Guerre Abu Muhsin al-Masri, follows weeks of violence, including a suicide attack by the Islamic state group on Saturday at an education center near Kabul that killed 24 people were.

Details of the raid that led to the alleged death of al-Rauf remained dismal hours after Afghan intelligence, the National Security Directorate, claimed on Twitter that it killed him in Ghazni province. It said one of its members was also killed in the operation.

The agency released a photo described as al-Rauf's corpse late on Sunday afternoon, which resembled FBI images of the militant leader.

The Afghan presidential palace issued a statement on Sunday saying al-Rauf had been killed and warned against "proving that the terrorism threat and Taliban's links to terrorist networks still exist".

"The Taliban should prove to the people, the Afghan government and the international community that they have cut ties with terrorist groups, including al-Qaeda," the statement said. They should "stop the war and violence and enable a dignified and sustainable peace in the country".

The federal prosecutor's office in the southern borough of New York filed an arrest warrant against al-Rauf in December 2018, accusing him of supporting a foreign terrorist organization and of being part of a conspiracy to kill US citizens.

The FBI has placed him on the Bureau's Most Wanted Terrorist List, which now includes 27 others.

Al-Qaeda did not immediately acknowledge the death reported by al-Rauf. The FBI declined to comment. The US Military Central Command and NATO did not respond to requests for comment.

The reported death of Husam Abd al-Rauf, also known to the nom de Guerre Abu Muhsin al-Masri, follows weeks of violence, including a suicide attack by the Islamic state group on Saturday at an education center near Kabul that killed 24 people were

The reported death of Husam Abd al-Rauf, also known to the nom de Guerre Abu Muhsin al-Masri, follows weeks of violence, including a suicide attack by the Islamic state group on Saturday at an education center near Kabul that killed 24 people were

Back in Idlib, Russia was blamed on Monday for an air strike on a training camp in the region that killed more than 50 Turkish-backed militia fighters.

The daytime attack was seen as one of the worst blows against the strongest groups in the opposition.

Youssef Hammoud, a spokesman for the Syrian opposition, said the airstrike was aimed at a military training camp for Faylaq al-Sham. Faylaq al-Sham is the largest armed group supported by Turkey and one of the most disciplined and trained.

Turkey has long supported Syrian rebels and used many of these fighters to step up its military campaigns in Libya and Azerbaijan.

The camp in Jebel al-Dweila, not far from the Turkish border, was holding training courses for new recruits, according to a war monitor and another opposition spokesman. According to Hammoud, leaders of the camp were among those killed.

A fighter from the Turkey-backed Faylaq al-Sham rebel faction in Syria fired into the air during the funeral of 10 of the faction's fighters in the northwestern city of Idlib on October 26

A fighter from the Turkey-backed Faylaq al-Sham rebel faction in Syria fired into the air during the funeral of 10 of the faction's fighters in the northwestern city of Idlib on October 26

People attended the funeral of fighters killed in an air strike in the city of Idlib, Syria, on Monday

People attended the funeral of fighters killed in an air strike in the city of Idlib, Syria, on Monday

The Human Rights Observatory, which oversees the war in Syria, left 78 dead and nearly 90 wounded. Rescue efforts are still ongoing, the observatory said.

Syrian rebel groups vowed to take revenge.

"We, the factions of the National Liberation Front, will respond to these violations," said Naji al-Mustafa, another spokesman for the Turkish-backed fighters who threatened to attack government and Russian positions. He called the strike a "crime" by Russia.

After a series of military victories backed by its key ally, Russia, the Syrian government has regained control of around 70 percent of the country, according to the observatory.

The war that erupted after the bloody repression of anti-government protests in 2011 killed more than 380,000 people and displaced millions of Syrians from their homes.

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