On Friday May 13 analyst Michael Horowitz published a series of tweets concerning the bombing of a Jabhat an-Nusra meeting in Abu adh-Dhuhur airbase in Idlib province. Who conducted the bombing is unknown yet there are reasons to believe the attack was conducted by the US air force. In the tweets Mr. Horowitz, translating an authentic Arab source on Twitter, pointed out about 15 senior ranking Jabhat an-Nusra leaders were killed in the airstrike.
Abu Hajar al-Urdani, a senior Jabhat al-Nusra operative was killed by a possible US airstrike in
The airstrike targeted a meeting of the al-Qaeda-affiliated group, and killed 15 in the Abu Adh Duhur air base
The original tweet in Arabic concerning Abu Dawoud al-Belgiki:
تأكيد خبر مقتل الأخ ابو داوود البلجيكي في غارة صليبية على
#مطار_ابو_ظهور تقبله الله وباقي الاخوة في عليين
The death of the Belgian Jabhat an-Nusra member was confirmed to me in private via a contact who talked to a Belgian or Dutch Jabhat an-Nusra member. It was also partly corroborated by Reuters by the publication of a very brief report on the event: (See Reuters)
Syrian Observatory: air strike kills 16 Nusra militants
An air strike hit a Nusra Front meeting in northwestern Syria, killing 16 senior members of the al Qaeda-linked group, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Friday.
It was not clear if the air strike, targeting the disused Abu al-Duhour air base, had been carried out by Russia or the United States, which have both mounted strikes against the group in Syria, said Observatory Director Rami Abdulrahman.
He said the air base had been heavily bombed in the attack.
Via contacts in The Islamic State I found out that the attacks were most likely targetting the actual top of Jabhat an-Nusra. An Ahrar as-Sham defector calling himself Siraj ad-Din, considered to be a reliable source on the events on the ground, tweeted that the attack “came half an hour late”. He implied that the entire leadership of Jabhat an-Nusra at one point was present at Abu adh-Dhuhur airbase:
الاجتماع الذي كان مقرر استهدافه بالقصف يضم الجولاني وابو احمد حدود وابو الفرج المصري وابو عبدالله الشامي وسامي العريدي وجميع الكادر الشرعي.
نصف ساعة فقط كانت الفاصل بين القصف الامريكي ومغادرة القيادات للمكان .!
He mentioned al-Julani himself, Abu Ahmad Hudud, Abu al-Faraj al-Misri, Abu ‘Abd Allah ash-Shami and Sami al-‘Uraidi and the whole Shura council were actually meeting at that same spot in which Abu Dawoud al-Belgiki was killed. In a second tweet he stated it was just half an hour after the entire leadership left, the spot was hit by the airstrike.
Another Twitter user reacted on the tweets pondering on the fact whether this was just a warning by the US led coalition to Jabhat an-Nusra or indeed an error in the modus operandi.
Whatever the nature of the attack; this would mean that the Belgian fighter involved was a high-ranking Jabhat an-Nusra member. Maybe not an actual Shura member but indeed linked to the very top of al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate.
We actually do not know a lot about this Belgian Nusra leader. He was first mentioned by the Belgian Syrian “Mediawerkgroep Syrië”, a website run by Syrian regime supporters living in Belgium with an excellent source base. (See website) The video that was supposedly approved by Abu Dawoud and got published on YouTube on May 27, 2014 (and as to now is stille online) is to be seen here:
Another source contacting me told me Abu Dawoud was a security leader within Jabhat an-Nusra, what would explain why he was still at the scene when the rocket actually hit. (See printscreen of private conversation below)
Whoever the man might have been, it is clear, based on all previous postings this Belgian Jabhat an-Nusra emir had a very important function within the core of the organisation.
It is most likely more news on this attack will be spread by Jabhat an-Nusra related social media accounts. If so, this post will be updated accordingly.