US airstrike kills seven al-Qaeda leaders as they met for dinner in Syria

The United States believes it killed seven al-Qaeda chiefs in Syria in an airstrike last week.

Unnamed senior leaders of the terrorist group were targeted as they met near the Turkish border in Idlib on October 22.

A Central Command spokeswoman, Major Beth Riordan said: "The removal of these AQ-S leaders will disrupt the terrorist organisation's ability to further plot and carryout global attacks threatening U.S. citizens, our partners, and innocent civilians.

"AQ-S takes advantage of the instability in northwest Syria to establish and maintain safe havens to coordinate terrorist activities,’ she added. ‘With our allies and partners, we will continue to target al-Qaeda and other terrorist organisations.’

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The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed 17 jihadists who were meeting for dinner in the village of Jakara, died in the strike.

Idlib where the meeting of jihadists took place, is the last major rebel bastion in Syria and is dominated by the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham group, led by a former al-Qaeda affiliate.

Observatory leader Rami Abdel Rahman told Military.com that five non-Syrian jihadists were among those killed, but their nationalities were not immediately known.

Rahman said: "‘They had been invited to dinner in a tent on a farm in Jakara.

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"It was a meeting of leaders opposed to HTS and who reject the Russia-Turkish deals’ that led to a fragile truce in Idlib. Some were close to Hurras al-Deen."

Nearly three million people live in the Idlib region which is the largest area in Syria not currently under government control.

Syrian President Bashar Assad who is backed by Russia is moving in on the region on one side and on the other is the Turkish military.

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American forces also conducted an airstrike against al-Qaeda in Syria, near Idlib, on October 15.

US military officials said that the drone strike was carried out by the Joint Special Operations Command.

Rahman said that a Jordanian and a Yemeni military commander from the al-Qaeda-affiliated Hurras al-Deen group were killed when a missile fired from a drone hit their car.

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