Obama Directs Pentagon to Target Al-Qaeda Affiliate in Syria

(Washington Post) Adam Entous - President Obama has ordered the Pentagon to find and kill the leaders of Jabhat al-Nusra, an al-Qaeda-linked group in Syria that has been at the vanguard of the fight against the Syrian government, U.S. officials said. The decision reflects concern that the group is turning parts of Syria into a new base of operations for al-Qaeda on Europe's southern doorstep. The group now calls itself Jabhat Fatah al-Sham and says it has broken with al-Qaeda, an assertion discounted by U.S. officials. U.S. spy agencies reported that the group was allowing al-Qaeda leaders in Pakistan and Afghanistan to create a new haven in northwest Syria. "We have made clear to all parties in Syria that we will not allow al-Qaeda to grow its capacity to attack the U.S., our allies, and our interests," said Lisa Monaco, Obama's White House homeland security and counterterrorism adviser. "We will continue to take action to deny these terrorists any safe haven in Syria." Drone strikes by the U.S. military under the program began in October and have so far killed at least four high-value targets, including al-Nusra's senior external planner. "The president doesn't want this group to be what inherits the country if Assad ever does fall," a senior U.S. official said.

2016-11-11 00:00:00

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