DAMASCUS — On Saturday, Russian Air Force bombers killed a senior Islamic State facilitation leader named Hussain Junaid al-Amriki during an air raid on a hospital in Idlib Province, Syria. Russian leaders are triumphing the move as an important contribution to the ongoing campaign against the terrorist group.
The Russian bombers unexpectedly killed al-Amriki during a routine strike against a Syrian hospital where he was apparently seeking medical treatment.
Russian officials noted that Western forces would never be brave enough carry out a similar strike on an unarmed and disabled target in a medical facility. "During our wars in Chechnya, we specialized in destroying terrorists with precision strikes when they least expected them, mostly when they were in the toilet. This was a brilliant strategy invented by President Putin himself. Striking Islamic State fighters in hospitals is simply a good idea," a senior military official told reporters.
According to Russian government sources, al-Amriki was infamous for his role in Islamic State propaganda videos and attacks on the West and his removal will significantly degrade the Islamic State's global reach. A Russian intelligence official called his removal a "major step forward in the campaign against Daesh," using another name for the group. The official argued al-Amriki was "way more important than Baghdadi or whoever the Americans claim to have killed. We had never even heard of that guy."
Counterrerorism experts pushed back, noting that none of them had previously encountered an Islamic State leader named Hussain Junaid al-Amriki. "I think they're making it up. This would not be the first time the Russians claimed to have killed someone who didn't exist," said Adam Damon, a counterterrorism expert at the Center for Strategic Analysis. "The name sounds like a mashup of a couple of other terrorists, all of whom are dead, as far as I know."
Russian officials dismissed these allegations and said they were motivated by a desire to undermine Russia's contribution to the war on terror. "Why else would we possibly bomb a hospital if there was not a single terrorist there?" one official noted.