Syrian jihadists were 'unaware' of ISIS head's presence in Idlib

Coalition of armed groups say they are against ISIS

07 February, 14:15

    BEIRUT - The main armed group operating in northwestern Syria and in control of the area in which the now-defunct Islamic State (ISIS) leader, known as Abu Ibrahim Hashimi al Qurayshi, blew himself up say they were not aware of his presence there.

    Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) is led by Abu Mohammed al-Jolani, who was part of al-Qaeda until he broke ties with them in 2016.

    It is a coalition of armed groups operating in the Idlib and northern Aleppo provinces along the border with Turkey.

    HTS has said in a statement that it was unaware of the presence of Qurayshi, who reportedly blew himself up during an operation by the US Special Forces on Feb. 3 in the Atmeh district, where he was staying with his family.

    HTS said in the statement that it "condemned" the US military operation - which killed several women and children - and reiterated its desire to continue to fight against ISIS.

    HTS, which works closely with Turkey, say that they are against ISIS.

    Qurayshi's predecessor Abu Bakr al Baghdadi had also reportedly blown himself up in a US raid in late 2019 in the same area.

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