US offers $5 million reward for Syria Al-Qaeda operatives

US offers $5 million reward for Syria Al-Qaeda operatives
The US offered rewards for information leading to the capture or location of three leading Al-Qaeda militants.
2 min read
12 September, 2019
Hurras al-Din are viewed as Syria's Al-Qaeda affiliate [State Department]
The US State Department on Thursday offered $5 million rewards for three senior Al-Qaeda militants based in Syria.

The State Department said it would pay $5 million for information leading to the identification or location of three leading Al-Qaeda operatives from the Hurras al-Din faction in Idlib.

Hurras al-Din is a hardline Syria-based Islamist militant group, which is said to be affiliated with Al-Qaeda and include a large number of foreign jihadi fighters.

The three militants named by the US State Department were Jordanian Sami al-Uraydi, Egyptian Abu 'Abd al-Karim al-Masri, Syrian Faruq al-Suri.

Sami al-Uraydi is a senior Hurras al-Dina religious figure and member of the group's shura council. He is wanted for his involvement in "terrorist plots against the United States and Israel".

Faruq al-Suri was named by the State Department as the leader Hurras al-Din. 

"Al-Suri is a veteran member of al-Qa’ida (AQ), having been active in the terrorist organization for decades," the State Department said in a statement on their website. He fought with Al-Qaeda linked groups in Afghanistan and Iraq and was detained in Lebanon from 2009 to 2013. He became the military commander of al-Nusra Front but left the group in 2016.

Al-Masri was also named as a member of Hurras al-Din's shura council.

Hurras al-Din have been targeted in a number of US airstrikes in recent months, including one in late August which killed 40 people.

Hurras al-Deen was established in February 2018 and has some 1,800 fighters, including non-Syrians, according to the Observatory.

Mohanad Hage Ali, director of communications and a fellow at the Carnegie Middle East Center told The New Arab that the group have tried to distance themselves from Hayat Tahrir al-Sham in Idlib, since the latter's split with Al-Qaeda.

"The premise of its foundation is to resume links with Al-Qaeda Central and the fact that non-Syrian jihadists are the core base of its leadership means its logical to assume that it was plotting an attack and using Syria for this," he said.

Agencies contributed to this story.