U.S. military forces conducted airstrikes last night against five Khorasan Group targets near Sarmada, Syria, U.S. Central Command officials reported today.
The strikes involved U.S. bomber, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft, officials said, all of which left the strike areas safely.
Though Centcom is still assessing the outcome of the attack, officials said, initial indications are that it had the intended results, striking terrorists and destroying or severely damaging several vehicles, as well as buildings assessed to be meeting and staging areas or bomb-making and training facilities.
Network of Nusrah Front and al-Qaida Core Extremists
Khorasan Group is a term used to refer to a network of Nusrah Front and al-Qaida core extremists who share a history of training operatives, facilitating fighters and money, and planning attacks against U.S. and Western targets, Centcom officials explained. The strikes were not in response to the Nusrah Front's clashes with the Syrian moderate opposition, they added, and did not target the Nusrah Front as a whole.
Rather, officials said, they were directed at the Khorasan Group, which is taking advantage of the Syrian conflict to advance attacks against Western interests and whose focus is not on overthrowing the Assad regime or helping the Syrian people.
The al-Qaida-affiliated network was plotting to attack in Europe or the U.S. homeland, Centcom officials said, describing the airstrikes as “decisive action to protect our interests and remove their capability to act.”
Centcom will continue to take any action necessary to disrupt attack plotting against U.S. interests, officials added.