Top commander of former Nusra group killed in Syria

Abu Omar Saraqeb was a commander of Jabhat Fateh al Sham, which was formerly known as al-Nusra Front, a powerful Syrian branch of Al-Qaeda.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Fighters of the Syrian rebel group Jabhat Fateh al-Sham cheer on a pick truck after a Russian helicopter had been shot down in Syria's rebel-held Idlib province in August, 2016.

A top commander of the Syrian militant group Jabhat Fateh al Sham has been killed in an airstrike on the outskirts of Aleppo, it was reported on Thursday.

Abu Omar Saraqeb was killed when a meeting of the group was targeted. But it remains unclear, which country carried out the aerial raid.

Jabhat Fateh al Sham, the erstwhile offshoot Al-Qaeda, was formally known as the al-Nusra Front, which has played an instrumental role in ongoing battles with Syrian regime troops and Iranian-backed militias.

A source told Reuters the militants were in a secret hideout in the village of Kafr Naha. There were unconfirmed reports that several other senior figures were either injured or killed.

The Nusra Front announced last July it was ending its relationship with the global militant network founded by Osama bin Laden, to remove a pretext used by world powers to attack Syrian civilians.

The move appeared to be an attempt to appeal to Syrians who have long had deep misgivings about Nusra's links with al Qaeda and the presence of foreign militants in its ranks.

The move was dismissed by Washington, which said it did not change its stance on the organization that is listed as a terrorist group.

Washington said the move was cosmetic and a rebranding that did not signal a shedding of its ideology.

The news comes ahead of a meeting between US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on the Syrian crisis. 


TRTWorld, Reuters