Two Jihadist Commanders Killed in Syria Drone Strikes: Monitor – The Defense Post

Drone strikes Monday killed two jihadist commanders close to Al-Qaeda in the Idlib region of northwest Syria, a war monitor said.

The raids were carried out by the US-led international coalition battling jihadists in Syria and Iraq, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The US military acknowledged killing an Al-Qaeda official, shortly after the coalition told AFP it had not carried out any strikes in Idlib province on Monday.

“US forces conducted a kinetic counter-terrorism strike near Idlib, Syria, today, on a senior al-Qaeda leader,” a US Central Command (CENTCOM) spokeswoman, Lieutenant Josie Lynne Lenny, said in a statement.

“Initial indications are that we struck the individual we were aiming for, and there are no indications of civilian casualties as a result of the strike,” she said.

The strikes targeted a vehicle on the road leading from Idlib city to Binnish further north, according to the Observatory.

Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP that one of the commanders killed was Tunisian, while the other was from Yemen or Saudi Arabia, without identifying the group they belonged to.

The Idlib region is dominated by Syria’s former Al-Qaeda affiliate, but rebels and other jihadists are also present.

Jihadist factions have been the target of Syrian, Russian, US, and international coalition strikes in the past.

Nine jihadists were killed in October 2019 in Russian air strikes on Idlib province, while a US strike a month earlier killed at least 40 jihadist leaders.

Syria’s war has killed around half a million people since starting in 2011 with a brutal crackdown on anti-government protests, spiraling into a complex battlefield involving foreign armies, militias, and jihadists.

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