US kills 'senior al-Qaeda leader' in Syria

US kills 'senior al-Qaeda leader' in Syria
A missiles fired from a drone has killed an al-Qaeda-linked 'organiser' who had been under the US' radar 'for some time', Washington has claimed.
2 min read
23 November, 2016
A drone strike has killed a senior figure linked to al-Qaeda in Syria, the US defence department claimed on Tuesday.

The strike, which took place 18 November near Sarmada in north-western Syria, targeted Abu Afghan al-Masri, Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said. The militant leader is said to have previously fought in Afghanistan.

"He had ties to terrorist groups operating throughout South West Asia, including groups responsible for attacking US and coalition forces in Afghanistan and those plotting to attack the West," Cook said.

According to Cook, the Egyptian fighter originally joined al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and later moved to its Syrian affiliate.
The Pentagon added that al-Masri had a "senior leadership role" in al-Qaeda.
"This is someone who helped organise al-Qaeda activities," Cook said, "has been on our radar for some time."

The US is currently leading coalition forces in striking Islamic State group positions in Syria, however has also targeted groups linked to al-Qaeda.

Both the US and Russia have struck the Syrian al-Qaeda linked group formerly known as al-Nusra Front. Nusra severed ties with al-Qaeda in July as part of a bid to avoid airstrikes on factions designated as terror groups.

This culminated in the militants rebranding themselves as Jabhat Fateh al-Sham.

As well as launching military attacks on al-Qaeda affiliates in Syria, the US has also taken action to disrupt the Nusra Front's military, recruitment, and financial operations.