Unless it's the case of 2 men with the same name, the name Samer Souad is/was an infamous smuggler who became particularly wealthy from fuel smuggling & black market trading in #Idlib.

Initially linked to Jamal Maarouf, some claimed he was linked to #HTS in recent years.
In addition to Samer Souad, locals also claim influential #HTS commander Abdulqader Tahhan (aka Abu Bilal Qadas) was at the targeted location outside #Salqin.

Qadas was given responsibility for Jisr al-Shughour security, following #HTS's recent crackdown on #AlQaeda loyalists.
Here's an image of the late-night meeting held in Jakara outside #Salqin -- reportedly convening #HTS security officials with other local notables.

Casualties likely to be more than the initially cited "2." Image
Update: Additional casualties (killed & wounded) confirmed by sources on the ground indicate this was a significant meeting of #Idlib-based jihadist & otherwise powerful figures:

- Abu al-Abd al-Ashida
- Amer Souad
- Ibrahim Souad
- Hamoud Sahara
- Abu Talha al-Hudayda
Abu al-Abd al-Ashida (pictured) defected from #HTS & was the leader of Tansiqiyya Jihad.

The Souads were very wealthy brothers, controlling much of #Idlib's black market trading.

Sheikh Hamoud Sahara & Abu Talha al-Hudayda also defected from #HTS, forming Kataib al-Fateh. Image
As casualty IDs come in from tonight's U.S. drone strike outside #Salqin (assuming they're accurate) the strike looks to have taken out an array of #HTS rivals & troublesome figures -- defectors, #AlQaeda-aligned critics & corrupt businessmen competing w. #HTS's income potential. Image
One source has told me Tansiqiyya Jihad leader Abu al-Abd al-Ashida is severely wounded after tonight's U.S. drone strike outside #Salqin -- not yet dead. Image
Update: Another source tells me a prominent leader in Huras al-Din was killed in tonight's U.S. drone strike -- but his body was swiftly removed from the scene.

Not clear who it was, yet.
Following tonight's U.S. strike in #Idlib, here's some confirmed (all non-#HTS) figures hit:

- Samer Souad
- Amer Souad
- Ibrahim Souad
- Abu Bilal Qadas
- Hamoud Sahara
- Abu Talha al-Hudayda
- Abu Hafs al-Urduni
- Un-IDd 'Huras al-Din'

Now unconfirmed:

- Abu al-Abd al-Ashida
Update - it seems clear now that tonight's U.S. strike in #Idlib hit a night-time meeting bringing together jihadist factions formed by #HTS defectors -- primarily Kataib al-Fateh, but also Huras al-Din, Tansiqiyya Jihad.

Plus the hosts, #Idlib's Souad black market kingpins.
Back in Oct '17, I wrote about #Turkey's emerging #Idlib strategy, part of which was a campaign of assassinations targeting outspoken hardliners within #HTS who opposed its potential pragmatism & cooperation with #Ankara.

That's clearly evolved since.

I've heard for 2yrs from trusted sources that elements within #HTS were leaking intel on internal critics & #AlQaeda loyalists to #Turkey's MIT intel service. I believe it.

The next level of the claims is controversial -- that those leaks are making their way to CIA & -> drones.
There's no doubt that U.S. intel focus in NW #Syrian is on #AlQaeda loyalists -- they were deemed a greater external plot threat than #ISIS a year ago.

But it's hard not to see the correlation here: #HTS's rivals, critics & business competitors are all dying off in U.S. strikes.
#AlQaeda loyalists & #HTS defectors have been alleging for months now that they're being set up for U.S. strikes by #HTS elements.

Those allegations will reach fever pitch after tonight's strike, which have dealt a big blow to #HTS's jihadist rivals in #Idlib.
Update: U.S. military confirms a strike was conducted against "al-Qaeda in #Syria (AQ-S)" tonight in #Idlib.

These strikes are conducted in joint coordination between JSOC & CIA. Image

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with Charles Lister

Charles Lister Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @Charles_Lister

20 Oct
Wow -- This is an extraordinary piece of work by @OSFJustice & @syrian_archive.

*The* definitive guide to #Syria's Scientific Studies & Research Center (SSRC), responsible for #Assad's chemical weapons program:

storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/f353d0… Image
@OSFJustice @syrian_archive The @OSFJustice & @syrian_archive detail the #SSRC's structure & its evolution:

- Jamraya Center

- Branch 450 (for storing, mixing & loading warheads pre-attack), supervised by #Assad, with Units in Safira (416), Khan Abu Al-Shamat (417), Latakia (418) & #Aleppo (419) ImageImage
@OSFJustice @syrian_archive #pt: #Syria's #SSRC cont'd:

- Institute 1000 (Electronics Institute), to produce electronic & computerized systems in a tunnel complex in Jamraya.

- Institute 2000 (Mechanical Institute), whose engineers cooperate with #NorthKorea & #Iran / produced barrel bombs & IRAMs. ImageImageImageImage
Read 5 tweets
19 Oct
NEW - My brief analysis on reports of a high-level #Trump admin visit to #Assad's #Damascus in August -- timing, delegation & context raise substantial questions about #Syria policy:

mei.edu/blog/monday-br… Image
NEW - In response to reports of recent #Trump White House visit to #Syria, @SecPompeo says:

- “We will continue to work for the return not only of Austin but every American that’s held... [But] we’re not going to change American policy to do that.”

(i.e. no big deal on table)
@SecPompeo “Working to bring #American hostages home is always a noble endeavor... But our govt must engage in such efforts without legitimizing terrorist groups or absolving people who tortured U.S. citizens.”

- @joshrogin raises some important points/questions:

washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/… Image
Read 4 tweets
24 Aug
All 45 participants - 15 from regime, 15 independents, 15 opposition - were tested before flying to #Geneva.

Quite how 3/45 slipped through the cracks is extraordinary.

If they [presumably] came from #Damascus, it speaks volumes about the crisis there.
Two sources confirm to me all 3 positive cases came from #Damascus.

What's troubling is that all 45 participants had been tested for #COVID *before* traveling to #Geneva & tested again on arrival in #Switzerland.

Somehow 3 positive cases slipped through that @UN-run process.
@UN NEW - Official statement from UN S/E Pedersen's office confirms #Syria's Constitutional Committee sessions in #Geneva are "on hold" after 3/45 participants tested positive for #COVID19. Image
Read 8 tweets
9 Jul
"Life Inside #Syria's al-Hol Camp"

- After interviewing 20 camp residents, @MEI_CTE scholar @vera_mironov delves deep into who lives in al-Hol? How do they relate to #ISIS? Who's escaping? How do they acquire money? & more.

REALLY important work:

@MEI_CTE @vera_mironov According to @vera_mironov's work, only a small minority of al-Hol residents genuinely support #ISIS - many others fake loyalty as a source of financial support (from #ISIS directly or foreign donors).

This drives many expressions of ultra radicalism or fake claims of attacks.
@MEI_CTE @vera_mironov One al-Hol resident claimed to @vera_mironov:

- "What #ISIS enforcement can we talk about, I feel like we're in #Europe here. Many females have sex with male camp workers... We constantly hear about 13-year-old boys having sex with girls or even try to rape other younger boys."
Read 6 tweets
30 Jun
This thread by @hxhassan is worth a read -- #HTS's violent response to #AlQaeda affiliate Huras Al-Din's overreach will have significant consequences.

A few additional notes of my own, to follow:

- This is all entirely consistent with #HTS/#JFS/#Nusra policy since ~2014.
@hxhassan My understanding of events leading up to the all-out fight differs somewhat -- #HTS's arrest of Abu Saloh al-Uzbeki
& Abu Malik al-Talli were *very* inflammatory to HaD. Both were crucial sources of finance & external networks. Plus, they came amid several escalatory accusations:
@hxhassan 1. After Abu Saloh's arrest, rumor swirled that #Turkey's MIT had transferred messages from #Moscow to #HTS, requesting his extradition via #Ankara in exchange for political & economic rewards.

Abu Saloh is accused of coordinating multiple attacks in #Russia in recent yrs.
Read 14 tweets
23 Jun
The intra-jihadi dynamic in #Idlib is rapidly intensifying, as #HTS is seeking to re-assert itself vis-a-vis (1) the opposition, (2) local civil society, (3) #Turkey & (4) increasingly exasperated #AlQaeda-leaning factions.

In doing so, it's revealing its multiple identities.
In recent weeks, we've seen escalatory events:

1. Khaled al-Aruri's death in a US drone strike

2. Formation of the #AlQaeda-leaning 'Stand Firm' ops room

3. #HTS arrest of:
- Sirajideen Makhtarov (Abu Saloh al-Uzbeki)
- Jamal Hassan Zayniya (Abu Malik al-Talli)
- Tauqir Sharif
Weeks ago, #HTS was attempting to [re-]build bridges with #Idlib civil society & now it's cracking down on divisive #AlQaeda loyalists & defecting critics.

Hard not to see the drivers involved here:

- Protect internal unity & regional primacy
- Undermine #AQ
- Message #Turkey
Read 33 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!