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US targets Al-Qaeda leadership in northwestern Syria

U.S. Central Command said Monday, July 1 that it carried out airstrikes targeting al-Qaeda leadership at a training facility in northwest Syria.

“This operation targeted AQ-S operatives responsible for plotting external attacks threatening U.S. citizens, our partners, and innocent civilians,” CENTCOM said in a statement.

CJTF-OIR, the U.S. operation against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, had earlier referred questions to CENTCOM.

Reports late Sunday said the strikes targeted six members of the al-Qaeda-linked Hurras al-Din in Aleppo province, killing several leaders.

In a statement Monday, Hurras al-Din said the strikes killed a “group of brotherly jihadists” in a religious center, AFP reported.

Northwest Syria remains an al-Qaeda safe haven, CENTCOM said.

Hurras al-Din emerged in 2018 and has ties to other al-Qaeda linked groups in northwest Syria such as Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, which dominates neighboring Idlib province, home to millions of people who have fled the violence in Syria’s civil war.

Last battlefield: The future of Syria’s Idlib after HTS militant takeover

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