Sanafi Al-Nasr, Senior Al-Qaeda Commander, Killed In Syrian Air Strike, Was It The Russians Or Americans?

International Business Times reports that Sanafi al-Nasr, Senior al-Qaeda leader, has been killed today, Saturday, October 17, 2015, in an air strike in the Aleppo province in Syria. Two other Takfiri terrorists — Abdul Malik al-Jazrawi and Abu Yasir al-Maghrebi, of Saudi and Morroccan nationality respectively, were also targeted in the attack.

The attack coincides with a new Syrian offensive as Syrian soldiers have regained control of the town of Al-Huwayjinah, near known Russian air strikes in the Al-Zarba Village. In conjunction with Hezbollah forces, the Syrian Army are making gains in their regaining of control of towns and villages in the area as the air strikes soften up positions of terrorists who have previously occupied the area.

The Long War Journal, who broke the story, says that the deaths are unconfirmed, but rely on pictures posted by fellow Al Qaeda members. The majority of reports coming from Syria are being posted on social media, particularly Twitter, where Al Qaeda updates its activities.

There are reasons to doubt this report, as just last year the same claim — that Sanafi al-Nasr was killed — proved to be false. Death announcements are seen by the terrorists as a way to buy time for recovering from injury or moving to a different area after an air strike.

The volume of so called “chatter” on the internet, however, points to this most recent claim as valid, as several Al Qaeda members are giving tribute; a picture of the alleged grave of al-Nasr has been posted on Twitter.

“If Nasr is dead, then Al Qaeda has lost an important leader.”

Al-Nasr is a third cousin of Osama Bin Laden, the mastermind of the September 11, 2001, attack in the United States which destroyed the World Trade Center towers, as well as killed 2,606 people in the buildings when the planes struck the World Trade Center. One-hundred-twenty-five people also died at the Pentagon when a plane crashed into that building as well. Cases of cancer among emergency workers — 2,500 in all — are soaring, meaning the final casualty toll is still to be fully measured.

Al-Nasr was, however, against the Islamic State, which has become a rival terrorist group to Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda does not support the so-called “caliphate” which Islamic State seeks to impose throughout the Middle East.

As CTC Sentinal reports, losing al-Nasr will be a big blow to Al Qaeda, as he had been responsible for successfully taking over terrorist activies in Iran.

“Sanafi al-Nasr… was appointed the Iran-based representative of al-Qa’ida to replace Yasin al-Suri, an al-Qa’ida operative who had been jailed by the Iranian authorities. From Tehran, he managed a facilitation network that transferred finances and fighters to Afghanistan and Pakistan.”

While the death of al-Nasr will be seen as a positive for those who oppose terrorism, it is still unclear whether the attack was carried out by Russia or the United States.

US and Russian warplanes
Pictured here is the SU-27 [in blue] and an unidentified US fighter [dark gray]. These planes are being used to conduct air strikes in Syria.
IDF Chief Gabi Ashkenazi Supervises Golan Heights Exercise
GOLAN HEIGHTS - FEBRUARY 21: Hezbollah fighters are well trained, as they have continually prepared for a war with Israel. (Photo by Dan Bronfeld/IDF via Getty Images)
US drones over Syria
The United States is heavily relying on drones to conduct air strikes in Syria. It is speculated a US drone killed Sanafi Al-Nasr, though a Russian air strike has not been ruled out. (Photo by Gokhan Sahin via Getty Images)

Regardless of whom carried out the attack, the Syrian government is benefiting and is launching more offensive strikes. On Friday, the Agence France-Presse reported that Syrian troops are working with Russian air support in the city of Aleppo, which also has a force of Iranian and Hezbollah troops. The region between Aleppo and Homs is seen as a possible staging ground for an invasion of Damascus, Syria’s capital.

Tensions are mounting on all sides as Turkey has just recently shot down an “unidentified” drone first reported as a Russian warplane. However, these reports were not confirmed by Russia which has said all of its planes and drones are accounted for.

The total death toll from the conflict now stands at 74,000 and millions of refugees have fled Syria since the conflict began. There seems to be no simple solution as the air strikes are affecting the transport of aid. Stephen O’Brien, the U.N.’s humanitarian chief, explains the situation.

“[Russian involvement] has meant that we have been unable to have as many convoys moving to get the supplies to the people in need.”

Whatever short-term losses occur, however, it is clear that strikes against terrorists are a good thing, as control of Syria by such forces would mean vast resources to war against the West. If it turns out that Sanafi al-Nasr has been killed, there are plenty more Islamic State and Al Qaeda targets yet to be destroyed in Syria.

[Image by Kontaktpress / Pixa Bay]