12/01/2022, 19.49
Send to a friend

Islamic State confirms leader’s death, picks a successor

Abu al-Hassan al-Hashemi al-Quraishi and a comrade blew themselves up during an operation by the Free Syrian Army in Daraa province. The Pentagon says no US forces took part in the operation. The new leader is Abu al-Hussein al-Husseini al-Quraishi. For expert, the movement has been weakened.


Damascus (AsiaNews) – Islamic State (IS) leader Abu al-Hassan al-Hashemi al-Quraishi died in an operation carried out by the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA) in mid-October, a Pentagon source confirmed.

Al-Quraishi and his aides were found at a secret hideout in a house in Jasem, a town in Daraa, a province in north-western Syria.

The province was brought under the control of the Syrian army following reconciliation agreements reached in 2018 that gave control of southern Syria back to Damascus.

Al-Quraishi final moments were described by some of FSA fighters who took part in the operation.

"The leader and a comrade blew themselves up with explosive belts after our [FSA] fighters managed to storm their hideout," said Salem al Horani, former fighter and a Jasem resident who participated in the siege.

The FSA had received backing from the West and Gulf states until the latter withdrew support in 2018, but its fighters remained in the area; under reconciliation deals under, they handed over heavy weapons but were allowed to keep light arms.

Meanwhile, the Islamic State has already chosen a successor, Abu al-Hussein al-Husseini al-Quraishi, said a spokesman for the group, who added that Abu al-Hassan al-Hashemi al-Quraishi was killed while “fighting enemies of God”.

The spokesman urged Islamic State members in all countries to pledge allegiance to the new leader, adding that "he is one of the loyal sons of the (Islamic) state".

In Washington, the Pentagon noted that no US special forces were involved in the operation, while at the White House welcomed the news, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters.

Abu al-Hassan al-Hashemi al-Quraishi is the second IS leader to be killed in 2022. In February US President Joe Biden announced that the operation to kill then IS leader Abu Ibrahim al-Qurashi in Syria’s Idlib province was successful. Idlib is the Islamic State’s last stronghold in the country.

The group’s first leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was killed in 2019, also in Idlib, in a raid ordered by then US President Donald Trump.

Now Turkey’s military operations in Syria against the Kurds, who have led the anti-IS resistance, could undermine all the efforts made so far against the jihadi group, whose presence is now limited to a few isolated cells or lone wolves in a few areas.

Still, for  Hassan, author of a book on the Islamic State, the group is a “shadow of its former self, [. . .] hollowed out in terms of their leadership and their ability to carry out attacks," without “iconic, charismatic leaders” or “any major attacks recently”, but it is not “finished”.

Send to a friend
Printable version
See also
Raid against al-Qurayshi amid fighting among Islamist factions near Idlib
04/02/2022 18:08
A fragile truce before the storm on the Turkish-Syrian border
30/11/2022 14:42
Assad responds to Kofi Annan and fixes election for May
Syrian airline flight grounded by Ankara departs. Cargo seized
Syrian rebels trained in refugee camps on Turkish border


Subscribe to Asia News updates or change your preferences

Subscribe now
“L’Asia: ecco il nostro comune compito per il terzo millennio!” - Giovanni Paolo II, da “Alzatevi, andiamo”