The U.S. military struck five Khorasan Group targets near the northwestern Syrian town of Idlib overnight Wednesday.
"We are still assessing the outcome of the attack, but have initial indications that it resulted in the intended effects by striking terrorists and destroying or severely damaging several Khorasan Group vehicles and buildings assessed to be meeting and staging areas, IED-making facilities and training facilities," U.S. Central Command said in a statement.
The U.S. military alone conducted the strikes, the statement said.
U.S. media reported, citing officials, that one of the strikes targeted a car carrying a key bombmaker for the Khorasan Group, David Drugeon. The French national is alleged to have ties with core al-Qaida groups in Pakistan.
Speaking at the Atlantic Council think tank, U.S. Gen. Lloyd Austin, the head of Central Command, stopped short of saying that the strikes had targeted Drugeon, but Austin commented, "He is clearly one of the leadership elements, and one of the most dangerous elements in that organization, and so any time that we can take their leadership out is a good thing."
Austin denied that the French government was reluctant to participate in the strikes.
The U.S. believes that Khorasan, a group of al-Qaida veterans who have moved into Syria, was planning attacks in the United States and Europe and defines it as a network of al-Nusra Front and al-Qaida core extremists.
The U.S. military said the group had "established a safe haven in Syria to develop external attacks, construct and test improvised explosive devices and recruit Westerners to conduct operations."
"These strikes were not in response to the Nusrah Front's clashes with the Syrian moderate opposition, and they did not target the Nusrah Front as a whole," added the statement. "They were directed at the Khorasan Group whose focus is not on overthrowing the (Bashar) Assad regime or helping the Syrian people. These al-Qaida operatives are taking advantage of the Syrian conflict to attack Western interests."
This is the second time that the U.S. has targeted the Khorasan group's assets in Syria since early September, when President Barack Obama authorized military strikes in the country.