A precision airstrike conducted recently by manned and unmanned U.S. aircraft against a training camp in Syria’s Idlib province killed more than 100 al-Qaida fighters, said Pentagon spokesman Navy Captain Jeff Davis.
In a statement, Davis said the Shaykh Sulayman training camp had been operational since at least 2013. “The removal of this training camp disrupts training operations and discourages hardline Islamist and Syrian opposition groups from joining or cooperating with al-Qaida on the battlefield,” said Captain Davis.
Since January 1, U.S. strikes have killed more than 150 al-Qaida terrorists including:
Mohammad Habib Boussadoun al-Tunisi, an external operations leader, killed January 17, was involved in facilitating Islamic extremism and external operations and had been connected to terrorist plots to attack Western targets.
Al-Tunisi arrived in Syria in 2014 after spending several years in countries across Europe and the Middle East, where he maintained ties with multiple Islamic extremists, according to Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook. The terrorist's death, Cook said, will degrade al-Qaida's pool of experienced, well-connected facilitators and fighters with external operations experience.
Abd al-Jalil al-Muslimi, a facilitator associated with a network plotting terror attacks in the west, was killed January 12. Muslimi, a Tunisian, was trained by the Taliban in the late 1990s, when he facilitated travel for the terror group, according to Press Secretary Cook. Muslimi also had extensive and long-standing ties to numerous al-Qaida external operations planners and terrorists. Muslimi's role will be difficult for al-Qaida to fill, Mr. Cook said, and the United States will continue to take action to deny these terrorists a safe haven in Syria from which to plot to attack the United States, its allies, or its interests.
“These strikes, conducted in quick succession, degrade al-Qaida's capabilities, weaken their resolve, and cause confusion in their ranks,” said Captain Davis. “We will continue to exert unrelenting pressure to defeat violent extremist groups across the globe.”