Abu Hamzah al Yemeni was a senior leader of Hurras al-Din (HaD). HaD has carried out more than 200 attacks in Syria’s Idlib, Latakia, Hama, and Aleppo provinces, often in conjunction with other Syrian rebel factions.Aaron Y. Zelin, “Huras al-Din: The Overlooked al-Qaeda Group in Syria,” Washington Institute for Near East Policy, September 24, 2019, https://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/view/huras-al-din-the-overlooked-al-qaeda-group-in-syria. The group is avowedly loyal to al-Qaeda and its leadership is dominated by non-Syrian al-Qaeda veterans.“Twenty-Fourth Report of the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team Submitted Pursuant to Resolution 2368 (2017) concerning ISIL (Da’esh), Al-Qaida and Associated Individuals and Entities,” UN Security Council, June 27, 2019, 7-9, https://undocs.org/S/2019/570; Charles Lister, “The Syria Effect: Al-Qaeda Fractures,” Hudson Institute, December 11, 2019, https://www.hudson.org/research/15533-the-syria-effect-al-qaeda-fractures. On June 27, 2022, Yemeni was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Idlib, Syria.Bill Roggio, “U.S. strike targets senior Al Qaeda leader in Syria,” Long War Journal, June 27, 2022, https://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2022/06/u-s-strike-targets-senior-al-qaeda-leader-in-syria.php.
According to media sources, Yemeni was reportedly a military commander within HaD. Although media sources claimed Yemeni was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Idlib, Syria on September 20, 2021, his death was never confirmed by HaD.“US strike kills jihadist leader in Syria,” Al Monitor, June 28, 2022, https://www.al-monitor.com/originals/2022/06/us-strike-kills-jihadist-leader-syria#ixzz7XWtG2egk; Jeff Seldin, “US Strike Targets al-Qaida in Syria,” Voice of America, September 20, 2021, https://www.voanews.com/a/us-strike-targets-al-qaida-in-syria-/6236468.html.
On June 27, 2022, the U.S. forces launched an airstrike that killed Yemeni in Idlib, Syria. Yemeni was reportedly riding alone on a motorcycle at the time of the strike.Bassem Mroue, “US strike kills Yemeni al-Qaida-linked commander in Syria,” Associated Press, June 28, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/us-strike-kills-yemeni-al-qaida-linked-commander-in-syria/2022/06/28/de9944d6-f6af-11ec-81db-ac07a394a86b_story.html. The operation involved two Hellfire missiles launched from an unmanned aircraft.Gordon Lubold and Michael R. Gordon, “U.S. Kills Suspected Militant Linked to Al Qaeda in Syria,” Wall Street Journal, June 27, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-kills-suspected-militant-linked-to-al-qaeda-in-syria-11656380309. There were no other casualties, but media sources claim members of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), a rival group of HaD, reportedly collected Yemeni's remains.“US strike kills jihadist leader in Syria,” Agence France Presse, June 28, 2022, https://www.al-monitor.com/originals/2022/06/us-strike-kills-jihadist-leader-syria.
According to media sources, the United States is “highly confident” that the strike killed Yemeni.Barbara Starr and Oren Liebermann, “US strikes al Qaeda-affiliated leader in Syria,” CNN, June 27, 2022, https://www.cnn.com/2022/06/27/politics/us-strikes-al-qaeda-affiliated-leader-syria/index.html. In a statement released by U.S. Central Command, the U.S. had reportedly been tracking Yemeni for a period of time as he was known to be active in Syria and in Iraq. Additionally, military officials claimed Yemeni had begun to expand the group’s operations outside of the region.Gordon Lubold and Michael R. Gordon, “U.S. Kills Suspected Militant Linked to Al Qaeda in Syria,” Wall Street Journal, June 27, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-kills-suspected-militant-linked-to-al-qaeda-in-syria-11656380309.
- Extremist entity
- Hurras al-Din (HaD)
- Type(s) of Organization:
- Non-state actor, religious, terrorist, national, violent
- Ideologies and Affiliations:
- Jihadist, pan-Islamist, Salafist, Sunni, takfiri
- Senior leader, deceased
Hurras al-Din (HaD) was formed on February 27, 2018, by a merger of seven hardline Syrian rebel factions. Ten more minor rebel factions joined the group in the months following its formation, all with a history of ideological and leadership ties to al-Qaeda. HaD is avowedly loyal to al-Qaeda and its leadership is dominated by non-Syrian al-Qaeda veterans.
Extremists: Their Words. Their Actions.
On October 27, 2018, domestic terrorist Robert D. Bowers carried out an anti-Semitic attack at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. He fired on congregants as they gathered for worship, killing 11 people and wounding six others.