Officials had hyped the September 22 airstrikes on “Khorasan” as hugely important, killing 30 militants. Today, they are saying the strikes only killed “one or two key militants.”
The strikes on Khorasan were a surprise part of the US air war in Syria, and even Syrian factions insisted they had never heard of the group. Ultimately, the name appears to have been a US invention, and the targets were part of Jabhat al-Nusra, an al-Qaeda wing.
The attacks riled Syrian rebel factions, which argue that al-Qaeda are part of the “good guys” and that the US strikes are aiding the Assad government. The US stopped talking up Khorasan briefly, but is now saying the strikes didn’t amount to a “death blow” and that more action is needed.
Since al-Nusra itself is one of the largest al-Qaeda affiliates in the world, and Khorasan isn’t an identifiable sub-set of the group to anyone other than the US officials who invented the term, exactly who that means will be the next targets is unclear, but will likely be in one of Nusra’s power bases, either in Aleppo Province or along the Jordan border.