The Pentagon confirmed on 18 October that al-Qaeda leader Sanafi al-Nasr was killed in an airstrike by the US-led coalition in northwestern Syria and not by Russian forces as previously believed. Sanafi al-Nasr, a Saudi national, was the highest ranking leader of the al-Qaeda network known as the "Khorasan Group".
According to the Pentagon, al-Nasr, whose real name was Abdul Mohsen Adballah Ibrahim al Charekh, was charged with funneling money and militants from the Gulf to Iraq and from Pakistan to Syria. He is the fifth senior leader of the Khorasan Group killed in the last four months.
"The United States will not relent in its mission to degrade, disrupt and destroy al-Qaeda and its remnants," Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said in the Pentagon's statement. "This operation deals a significant blow to the Khorasan Group's plans to attack the United States and our allies, and once again proves that those who seek to do us harm are not beyond our reach."
The Daily Mail reported that a US official not authorised to discuss the strike confirmed that an American drone targeted and struck the veteran terrorist. The Khorosan Group reportedly traveled from Pakistan to Syria as they plotted attacks against the West.
Al-Nasr was previously believed to have been killed by a Russian airstrike. The senior fighter was reportedly targeted along with two other Takfiri terrorist group members: Saudi national Abdul Malik al-Jazrawi and Moroccan national Abu Yasir al-Maghrebi, who were believed to also have been killed.
Al-Nusra Front— al-Qaeda's branch in Syria — released photographs of a vehicle that was struck in Al-Dana west of Aleppo and of the bodies of those believed to have been killed. Those killed in the attack were in a region that has seen Syrian troops regaining control of lands as they are supported by Russian air strikes.