Syria’s al-Qaeda-linked group denies it was behind the killing of an ISIS leader
The main insurgent Al-Qaeda-linked group of the Syrian Arab Republic has denied its involvement in the execution of an ISIS leader in the country’s northwest. The security arm of Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), commonly referred to as Tahrir al-Sham, announced on Friday night that the group was not behind the killing of the ISIS leader.
This came a day after ISIS, also known as Daesh, blamed the Syrian insurgent group for the death of leader Abu al-Hussein al-Husseini al-Qurayshi, who took office on 30 November 2022. The spokesman of HTS, General Security Diaa al-Omar, said, “We categorically deny this claim,” adding that they would have otherwise claimed responsibility.
Abu al-Hussein al-Husseini al-Qurayshi had headed the organization since November. He joined ISIS in 2013. He was announced as the head of the organization after the death of the previous leader Abu al-Hasan al-Hashimi al-Qurashi. He was one of the loyal members of ISIS. ISIS said that he died fighting with an al-Qaeda-linked group. Daesh accused HTS of acting as agents of Turkish intelligence. The ISIS leader reportedly died in Idlib province in rebel-held northwestern Syria. After his death, the group named Abu Hafs al-Hashemi al-Qurayshi as the new leader. Abu al-Hussein al-Husseini al-Qurayshi was the fourth ISIS leader to be killed.
Last month, the United States Central Command said it conducted a drone strike that killed an ISIS leader in eastern Syria. It announced the death of Usamah al-Muhajir, an ISIS leader in eastern Syria. Gen Erik Kurilla, commander of US Central Command, confirmed the news. However, he did not give any more details about him. In 2019, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, former leader of ISIS, killed himself during a US military operation in north-west Syria. In 2014, he announced the creation of a “caliphate” in areas of Iraq and Syria before its defeat years later.