Nusrah Front/al-Qaeda in Syria lost its military commander and another dozen of its regional leaders. Coalition air power was able to act on detailed intelligence reports to hit the right buildings at the exact time Nusrah was having its main planning meeting.
As with ISIS at al-Qa'im in Iraq back in November, 2014, infiltration remains a signal weakness for these Salafi-based military operations. They rely on new volunteers/mercenaries. Then when they have leadership meetings like this one at Idbil there is no way to keep things secret.
It's not just losing this guy. The whole meeting to reset military policy in northern Syria got hit with missiles and then anti-personnel bombs. In contrast to Israel, which hits anti-Nusrah and anti-ISIS assets with one or two aircraft at a time, minimizing presence, when the Syrian Air Force gets a suitable target they unload with sustained attacks. (But no thumper. A surprise, that.)
Syria's U.N. ambassador Bashar Ja'afari stressed during the week that Obama's strategy of backing “so-called moderate rebels” had backfired. All that supplying weapons has done so far, in his opinion, is to give arms to the Islamic State and Nusrah Front. And financial support to Muslim Brotherhood factions over in Turkey.
We'll try to find out going forward how much this air strike impacted ISIS. The attendees came to listen to this man Abu Hammam al-Shami. He was the draw. It's not clear who all responded to the invitations.
It's been a rough patch for the Saudi/GCC proxies over there. First al-Baghdadi. Now Abu Hammam al-Shami. Kinda hard to fight a war against organized opposition when you can't keep your top people alive.
This was the cloud from the thumper that took out al-Baghdadi.
Apparently Syrian Air Force just used their fighters. No thumper. I'm amazed.