Jabhat Al-Nusra militants.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Abu Firas al-Suri, a senior member in Jabhat al-Nusra's political echelon, was killed in a deadly US airstrike Sunday night in the northern Syrian city of Idlib. Jabhat al-Nusra is al-Qaida’s affiliate in Syria.
Sources affiliated with JN reported on Twitter that "Abu Firas," whose real name is Radwan Namus, was killed alongside his son and six JN jihadists in the Idlib village of Kfar Jalis.
Sixty-five year old Abu Firas was born in the Syrian city of Madaya and had served as an officer in the Syrian Arab Army. Following the notorious Hama massacre in 1982 in which the Syrian army killed tens of thousands of Muslim Brotherhood supporters, he left the army and went to Afghanistan, where he was a founding member of al-Qaida, together with Osama bin Laden.
When the Syrian civil war erupted in March 2011, he returned to Syria and joined JN’s ranks, serving as the organization's spokesman in Idlib and later, as the head of JN's Sharia institutions.
Following his martyrdom, JN activists on social media networks eulogized their leader and launched a campaign against Huthaifa Azzam, whom they accused of Abu Firas' killing.
Huthaifa Azzam, the son of al-Qaida's founder, Abdullah Azzam, has recently criticized JN in a series of remarks on Twitter. In his remarks, he revealed information about JN leaders that according to JN served the American intelligence in preparing the airstrike against Abu Firas.
Many JN activists also accused the United States of using drones only against al-Qaida leaders, describing the drone as a "weapon whose purpose is to bomb al-Qaida." On Thursday, four of the organization's militants were killed in a US airstrike in the city of Azan in southern Yemen.