US launches air strikes against al-Qaeda-linked Khorasan groups in Syria
Using bomber, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft, US military forces launched a series of air strikes on Khorasan group targets on Wednesday night in the region of Sarmada, a city in the north western Idlib province of Syria near the Turkish border.
The US Central Command (CENTCOM) released a statement yesterday and confirmed that the attacks “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.”
Believed to hold the same international terror threat as IS, this is the second assault on Khorasan targets following initial airstrikes on 22nd September.
Speaking anonymously to reporters, a senior US official disclosed that a French born national David Drugeon, an Islamic convert and supposed bomb-maker for the group, was a key target.
There is no official confirmation as yet that Drugeon, who has been under surveillance for years by the US, has been killed.
An obscure band of al-Qaeda veterans, Khorasan are purported by the US Intelligence to be an extremely volatile faction who have set up operations under Nusrah Front, the main Syrian al-Qaeda affiliate.
CENTCOM has revealed that these extremists were using the Syrian conflict as an opportunity to plan and execute attacks on Western targets and were not focused or interested in overthrowing the Asad regime or supporting the Syrian people.
The agency said: “We took decisive action to protect our interests and remove their capability to act.”
Following this week’s remarkable win by Republicans of the US Senate and greater control of the House, the US army general Lloyd Austin is due to brief congressional leaders today on US strategy in Syria and Iraq. This latest offensive has added to the uncertainty surrounding deepening military involvement in Syria, where the civil war is now entering its fourth year.