The US Central Command (CENTCOM) has announced that a US-led coalition has taken out a senior member of the Hurras al-Din (also known as Horas al-Din) group, an al-Qaeda-linked terrorist group, last June 27. The hit, referred to as a “kinetic strike,” was executed in Idlib, northwestern Syria.

The mission was to take out Hurras al-Din’s leader, Abu Hamzah al Yemeni. According to initial reports, the terrorist leader was riding a motorcycle during the strike. He was successfully eliminated during this motorcycle ride at around midnight. There were also reports that he was hit by two rockets. However, the specific munition used to kill al Yemeni was not specified. CENTCOM also reported that there were no civilian casualties during the operation.

As Syria remains a safe haven and a hotspot for Al-Qaeda and Al-Qaeda-aligned militants, the US forces continue to seek these groups out to keep their effectiveness at bay. By eliminating their line of leadership, the groups will tend to be directionless, limiting their capacity to strike targets with terrorist intent.

“Violent extremist organizations, including Al Qaeda-aligned organizations such as Hurras al-Din, continue to present a threat to America and our allies,” CENTCOM said in a statement. “Al Qaeda-aligned militants use Syria as a safe haven to coordinate with their external affiliates and plan operations outside of Syria. The removal of this senior leader will disrupt Al Qaeda’s ability to carry out attacks against U.S. citizens, our partners, and innocent civilians around the world,” they continued.

Historical Background

This successful kill is a strategic success in the war on terror as the US State Department designated Hurras al-Din as a global terrorist group in 2019. Each of the top three leaders has a $5 million bounty on their heads. Much of the public is unfamiliar with the group as these small groups splintered from a much larger organization. In Hurras al-Din’s case, the group was created sometime in 2018 after multiple factions splintered away from Hayat Tahrir al-Sham.