Prominent HTS Figure Abu Mariya al-Qahtani Assassinated in Suspected ISIS Attack

Credit: (Amjad/Social Media)

In an apparent assassination targeting a senior member of Hayah Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), Maysar Ali Musa Abdullah al-Juburi, better known as Abu Mariya al-Qahtani, was killed last night, Thursday, April 4. Other HTS officials were also reportedly injured in the attack, which took place at a guest house in northern Idlib’s Sarmada.

An eyewitness described the events leading up to the explosion: “There were about 25 people in the Sheikh’s guest house after the Tarawih prayer (a voluntary late-night prayer during Ramadan).  Around 9:30, guards allowed three people wearing abayas (long over coats worn by Arab tribes) and carrying a sword inside. They waited for 20 minutes, then presented a sword to the Sheikh. He commented on it being an authentic Arab sword. Two of the visitors left, and the third approached the Sheikh, then there was a loud blast.”

The third visitor, who had been seen visiting Qahtani in the guest house a few days prior, seems to have detonated a “suicide belt” while next to him, killing both himself and Qahtani in the blast which is said to have injured at least eight other members of the gathering.

Abdurahman al-Toun, a religious scholar and prominent member of HTS’ religious body, eulogized Qahtani following the announcement of his death, congratulating him on his martyrdom in the blessed last ten nights of Ramadan and offering condolences to his family, loved ones, and tribe.

While no group has yet to declare responsibility for the attack it is widely believed to be the work of The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Qahtani was instrumental in severing the ties between Jabha al-Nusra (JN) and ISIS in 2013 and was one of the first to oppose the group, both ideologically and militarily.

Due to his outspokenness and staunch opposition of the group he reportedly survived four previous ISIS assassination attempts since 2013. In the wake of the announcement of his death many social media accounts and channels associated with ISIS and their members have shared posts mocking and celebrating the murder.

Last year he was accused of being a US collaborator, culminating in his imprisonment and alleged torture by HTS in 2023. The charges were ultimately dropped, leading to his release and reconciliation with HTS earlier this year. Abu Mariya’s death marks a significant event within the Syrian conflict’s landscape and the extent of its impact remain to be seen.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here