The US on Monday carried out an airstrike near Idlib in northwest Syria, according to US Central Command (CENTCOM).
While President Biden has bombed Syria, this appears to be the first US airstrike in northwest Syria since he’s assumed office. CENTCOM claims the strike targeted a “senior al-Qaeda leader” and that “initial indications” show the US hit the individual it was targeting.
According to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the strike hit a vehicle carrying a militant from one of the radical groups in the region and killed at least one person. The Observatory didn’t name the group but said it was affiliated with al-Qaeda.
Starting in 2019, the US has carried out several drone strikes in northwest Syria against Hurras al-Din, an al-Qaeda-affiliated militia. Hurras al-Din is an offshoot and rival of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), another al-Qaeda affiliate that is the dominant faction in Idlib.
Idlib is essentially under Turkish protection, and the US tacitly endorses HTS by supporting Turkey in Syria. In recent years, HTS has gained favorable coverage by Western media despite its al-Qaeda affiliation. The favorable press is due partially to the fact that HTS has fought against Hurras al-Din.