Al-Qaeda and rebel leaders killed in suspected US bombing

Al-Qaeda and rebel leaders killed in suspected US bombing
Leading figures in the rebel group formerly known as al-Nusra Front and Jaish al-Fateh have been killed in a suspected US air strike during a meeting in West Aleppo.
2 min read
09 September, 2016
Nusra announced its break from al-Qaeda and a re-brand in July
Leading figures in Syria's shadowy al-Qaeda-linked rebel group Fatah al-Sham and have been killed in a suspected US air strike in West Aleppo.

Commanders from the group - formerly known as al-Nusra Front - were at a meeting in Aleppo's Kafr Naha with other rebel leaders when a bomb hit the building, Aleppo 24 told The New Arab.

Among the dead were Abu Hajar al-Homsi and Abu Omar Saraqeb, who Aleppo 24 believe are the different names for the Jabhat Fatah al-Sham's second in command.

Sources say they believe Homsi was Jaish al-Fatah's leader in Qalamoun, close to the Lebanese border.

A photo said to be of Saraqeb's bloodied corpse has been shared on social media.

Also killed in the attack were Abu Mohammed al-Shami and Abu Akhaled Libnan during the meeting between commanders in Jabhat Fatah al-Sham and rebel alliance Jaish al-Fatah.

The group's leader Abu Mohammed al-Jolani was not believed to be present at the meeting and avoids such contacts.

Another commander, Abu Muslim al-Shami, survived the attack but was badly injured, Aleppo 24 said, with a photo emerging said to show the injured fighter in a hospital bed.

Syrian monitoring group Sound and Picture said that they believed the strike was carried out by the US due to the sound of the aircraft and size of the explosion.

It was also carried out by a war plane and not a drone, as reported by other agencies, they said.

"There were eight in the meeting of Fateh al-Sham. All of them were killed [during the air raid] at 7pm," the group told The New Arab.

The attack comes after Syrian regime forces launched a successful offensive on rebels in Aleppo, cutting off a key area controlled by the opposition in the east of the city.

US and Russian officials been in contact on Thursday to arrange a truce for Aleppo.

US and Russia are said to be preparing to share intelligence that could lead to air strikes on Fatah al-Sham, which Washington views as still being part of al-Qaeda.

In July, al-Nusra Front's leader Jolani announced that the group was splitting from al-Qaeda, after given the approval of Ayman al-Zawahiri and renamed the outfit Jabhat Fatah al-Sham [Front for the Liberation of the Levant].