US Drone Strike Kills Two al-Qaeda Figures in Syria

CENTCOM says al-Qaeda in Syria a threat to US and allies

A new statement Thursday from CENTCOM reveals that the US carried out a drone strike against a vehicle in Idlib, Syria, killing two al-Qaeda targets, and potentially two civilians who were also in the vehicle.

The slain were identified as Abu Dhar al-Masri and Abu Yusuf al-Maghrebi. Not much is known about either, but both are noted to be wanted by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), which was the most recent Syrian affiliate for al-Qaeda. The US is trying to make a distinction between HTS and al-Qaeda, though it’s not clear where this other al-Qaeda came from.

Reports are that these two were trying to undermine support for HTS, which was the former Nusra Front, which was the actual al-Qaeda, and also that HTS was reportedly providing the US intelligence about Abu Dhar al-Masri the last time he was reported killed by a US drone, in 2019.

Idlib is the main base of operations for HTS, though they’ve lost parts of the province to the Syrian military. The US is not directly involved in fighting in this area but does carry out drone strikes from time to time.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.