Beirut — A drone strike by the U.S.-led coalition in northwestern Syria killed a senior member of an al Qaeda-joined team, Syrian opposition activists and the U.S. navy reported Tuesday.

The assault on the suspected militant, who was driving a bike at the time, came shortly ahead of midnight on Monday – the most current in a collection of strikes more than the past decades focusing on al Qaeda-connected militants in northwestern Syria.

The U.S. Central Command stated its forces performed “a kinetic strike” in Syria’s Idlib province, focusing on Abu Hamzah al Yemeni, a senior chief of Horas al-Din team. Al Yemeni was touring by yourself at the time of the strike, it said, including that an initial critique indicated no civilian casualties.

The opposition’s Syrian Civil Protection, also recognized as the White Helmets, said the attack transpired just south of the rebel-held metropolis of Idlib. The White Helmets said there had been no fatalities other than the male on the bike, incorporating that they have handed about his physique to morgue officers in Idlib.

Syrian opposition activists failed to determine the slain man, whilst the U.S. Central Command statement indicated he was a Yemeni citizen.

Members of Horas al-Din, Arabic for “Guardians of Religion,” are hardcore al Qaeda things who broke absent from Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, the strongest insurgent group in Idlib, the final big rebel enclave in war-torn Syria.

In June 2020, the U.S. military services killed Khaled Aruri, a top rated Jordanian commander with Horas al-Din, also in Idlib. A drone strike in December 2019 killed a senior Horas al-Din commander, the Jordanian citizen Bilal Khuraisat, also identified as Abu Khadija al-Urduni.

CENTCOM said in its statement that violent extremist companies, like al Qaeda-aligned businesses these types of as Horas al-Din, “go on to current a threat to The usa and our allies.” It extra that al Qaeda-aligned militants use Syria as a safe and sound haven to coordinate with their external affiliates and approach functions outside of Syria.

“The removal of this senior leader will disrupt al Qaeda’s capacity to carry out assaults against U.S. citizens, our companions, and harmless civilians all around the world,” CENTCOM mentioned.

Brett McGurk explained at the time when he was the top U.S. envoy for the coalition battling the ISIS that Idlib is the premier al Qaeda haven given that Osama bin Laden’s days in Afghanistan.

A U.S. airstrike killed al Qaeda’s second in command, former bin Laden aide Abu al-Kheir al-Masri, in Syria in 2017.

In February, the U.S. army killed the latest IS chief, Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi, in Idlib province close to the Turkish border. The to start with chief of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was also killed in a U.S. strike in Idlib, in 2019.