Abdul Hamid-Al Matar reportedly killed in drone strike

US military kills Al-Qaeda leader in Syria

photo_camera REUTERS/JOSH SMITH - A U.S. serviceman guides a U.S. Air Force MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aircraft as it heads to the runway at the airfield in Kandahar, Afghanistan, March 9, 2016

The US military claims to have killed Abdul Hamid Al-Matar, a senior member of the Al Qaeda terrorist network. The attack reportedly took place in northern Syria following a US drone offensive. Officials say there were no civilian casualties during the attack.

Central command spokesman John Rigsbee said the elimination "disrupts the terrorist organisation's ability to continue to plot and carry out global attacks". Rigsbee also said the air strike was carried out by an MQ-9 drone, an unmanned aerial vehicle designed by the US company General Atomics Aereonautical System. 


According to Rigsbee, al-Qaida remains a threat to the US. He noted that the terrorist organisation "uses Syria as a safe haven to reconfigure itself, coordinate with foreign branches and plan overseas operations".

The attack on the leader also comes two days after an attack was reportedly carried out against a US outpost in southern Syria. However, Rigsbee has not made any statement on whether the attack on al-Qaida is part of a defensive response to the offensive against the base. 


A month ago, the US also announced that it had executed another senior leader of the organisation, whom it did not identify, but who was killed in an aerial bombardment in north-western Syria.

The execution of the Al-Qaeda leader in Syria comes at a time when the region is being hit by the terrorist threat. The rise of the Taliban to power in Afghanistan following the US withdrawal has prompted sleeper cells of Daesh and other terrorist organisations to awaken and wreak havoc through suicide attacks. 


Specifically in the Syrian capital, Damascus, a few days ago, a military bus exploded in the centre of the city as a result of a new terrorist attack. This act claimed the lives of 14 people, although it could be more. The Syrian capital had not seen another attack of this kind for three years.

Shortly after this attack, al-Assad's Syrian army carried out a bombardment in Idlib, a stronghold that mixes Kurdish militants, Syrian refugees and fleeing terrorists. According to UNICEF, the army attack on a market killed 11 civilians, including four children. The humanitarian agency says the violence "is a reminder that the war in Syria is not over. Civilians, including many children, continue to bear the brunt of a brutal decade-long conflict," they add. 


Moreover, despite the Taliban's attempt to disassociate itself from terrorism and its past during the Taliban rule in the 1990s, it is clear that the radicals continue to maintain links with Al-Qaeda, which is of concern to the international community.

Between 1996 and 2001 Al-Qaeda broke into Afghanistan, orchestrating a number of international terrorist attacks in the aftermath. Among these attacks was the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers on 11 September 2001, the most notorious for its high death toll and for changing the course of history by provoking the US invasion of Afghanistan. 


It has been 20 years since this attack, two decades in which US troops have remained in Afghanistan with the aim of waging a "war on terror". During their incursion, the troops have waged various offensives against terrorists and have tried to train and supply the Afghan army with weapons. However, their withdrawal, announced by Biden and finalised on 31 August, leaves Afghanistan facing the drift of the Taliban and the terrorist threat, which, although weakened, has not managed to disappear.


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