November 1, 2016 | Quoted by Paul D. Shinkman - U.S. News & World Report

Al-Qaida on the Rise in Syria

The group that launched the Sept. 11 attacks, waged insurgent war against U.S. forces in Afghanistan, catalyzed extremist movements in places like Iraq, Yemen, Somalia and North Africa, and was supposed to have been all but “decimated” and hiding in Pakistan's tribal regions has found new life in the conflict in Syria, and according to the Defense Department is on the rise there.

The U.S. conducted an airstrike in Syria on Monday morning against an operative in what Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis described as “core al-Qaida.” Davis wouldn't confirm the effect of the strike or even the target itself, though local media reported it was Abu Farag al-Masri, an Egyptian and senior commander of an al-Qaida affiliate.

“On the one hand, we're targeting senior members in Jabhat Fateh al-Sham who are legacy al-Qaida members and current al-Qaida figures. And by the same token, we have supported groups that fight alongside them as allies. It doesn't make any sense,” says Thomas Joscelyn, a senior fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies who tracks al-Qaida movements for its publication, The Long War Journal.

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