Amr al Absi Reportedly Killed in Aleppo Air Strike

I'm surprised the U.S. media isn't all over the reports of Amr al Absi (aka Abu al-Athir,) being killed in an airstrike. He's not only a big deal in ISIS, he reportedly was involved in the imprisonment of kidnapped foreign journalists, including James Foley (whom ISIS likely inherited from the group who actually kidnapped them.

Experts say Absi orchestrated the defection of a large number of foreign fighters from the al-Qaeda-aligned Jahbat al-Nusra during Isil's rocky early months in 2013. One of those men was Mohamed Emwazi, the Briton who would go on to be Isil’s most notorious executioner.

...The jihadist is understood to have overseen the kidnapping or purchase of a number of journalists and aid workers, among them the American reporter James Foley and British taxi driver Alan Henning, whose videotaped murders Emwazi would later become famous as ‘Jihadi John’.

I've mentioned al Absi and his murdered brother Firas in several posts, see here and here. Here's one of the principal source articles I relied on. [More...]

the ISIS-appointed wali – Islamic governor – of Aleppo Amr al-Absi, also known as Abu al-Athir al-Shami. Absi had been incarcerated in Sednaya for his affiliation with a terrorist group. His brother Firas was the first Islamist leader to label his group as a “state” in Syria, with its full name being “the Shura Council of the State of Islam.”

Firas al-Absi was killed at the Bab al-Hawa crossing after hoisting al-Qaeda’s banner along the Turkish border in an area controlled by the Farouq Brigades and Ahrar al-Sham. Amr al-Absi holds a deep grudge against these brigades, which he believes are responsible for his brother’s death. Absi took control of the Shura Council of the State of Islam, and began working on his project and his state, succeeding in increasing the number of fighters from 180 before his brother’s death to 540.

Absi reached out to Baghdadi in Iraq, seeking to create with him a unified global entity. Not many people know that Baghdadi’s first branch in Syria was Absi’s group.

....Later on, Baghdadi came to Syria, and Absi was one of the first figures to meet him and pledge allegiance, secretly in the beginning but openly later.

Shami Witness also tweeted out the story and wrote an article, “On the Jabhat an-Nusra vs. Kata’ib al-Farouq fitna” now taken down (a version of it still appears here.)

For another version, see this article on the al Absi brothers and the Mujahideen Shura Council starting on page 6.

In designating him a foreign terrorist fighter in September, 2014 (the month after Foley was killed), the U.S. said:

As of mid-July 2014, Amru al-Absi was selected as ISIL’s provincial leader for Homs, Syria, in the Aleppo region. As a principal leader of ISIL in Syria, he has been in charge of kidnappings.

There was one U.S. reported air strike in Syria on March 3 (the day al Absi was reportedly killed). But it's not clear whether it was a U.S. or Russian strike that killed al Absi.

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