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French defector David Drugeon, Ahrar al Sham allegedly targeted in Idlib strikes
Video surfaced on Facebook late Nov. 5 alleging to show the aftermath of a United States airstrike in Idlib. A number of recent airstrikes, as we now know, were targeting the Khorasan Group, a collection of al Qaeda veterans embedded within the Al Nusrah Front.
US Central Command announced that "US military forces conducted airstrikes last night against five Khorasan Group targets in the vicinity of Sarmada, Syria, using bomber, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft" in a press release yesterday.
"We are still assessing the outcome of the attack, but have initial indications that it resulted in the intended effects by striking terrorists and destroying or severely damaging several Khorasan Group vehicles and buildings assessed to be meeting and staging areas, IED-making facilities and training facilities," the release continued.
Fox News reported that David Drugeon, a French defector to al Qaeda and a master bomb maker, was targeted in the airstrikes.
"The drone struck a vehicle traveling in Syria's Idlib province that was believed to be carrying Drugeon. The driver of the vehicle is thought to have lost a leg and was expected to die, according to sources with knowledge of the operation. A second person thought to be Drugeon was killed, according to well-placed military sources," Fox News reported.
Local activists reported that a destroyed vehicle at the scene of the strike belonged to an Al Nusrah Front official.
Based on the video above, the viewer can see that the vehicle was hit with precision, as nothing surrounding it appeared to be damaged. Furthermore, US Central Command confirmed that airstrikes did occur in the town of Samarda. The video above could possibly show the vehicle in which Drugeon was traveling when he was allegedly killed.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that the Islamic Front's Ahrar al Sham, an al Qaeda ally, was also targeted. SOHR said that an Ahrar headquarters was targeted near the Bab al Hawa border crossing. This seems to fit a report made by an Ahrar fighter on the night of the strikes which said that an Ahrar arms depot near Bab al Hawa was targeted. A video was also posted to YouTube from an alleged Ahrar member delivering a similar statement.
CENTCOM did not state that it targeted Ahrar al Sham in the Nov. 5 airstrikes. Ahrar al Sham is closely allied with the Al Nusrah Front.
[Source: By Caleb Weiss, Threat Matrix, The Long War Journal, NJ, 07Nov14]
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