US air raid kills Syrian rebel commander: Rebels
Sept.9, Aleppo: A senior military commander and founding member of the Syrian rebel group Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, formerly known as the Nusra Front, has been killed by a US air strike that hit a meeting of the group's leaders, rebels said.
Abu Hajer al-Homsi, whose real name was Abu Omar Saraqeb, was killed in a raid on a rural part of Aleppo province on Thursday, which was most likely carried out by a US fighter jet, a rebel source told the Reuters news agency.
Another source told Reuters that the rebels were at a hideout in the village of Kafr Naha when the strike hit them.
The AFP news agency also reported Saraqeb's death, citing rebels.
Few other details emerged, but a photo of another top leader known as Abu Muslim al-Shami was circulated on social media showing him alive to refute reports he had also been killed.
The leader of the group, Abu Mohammad al-Jolani, was not believed to be at the meeting.
Since a US-led coalition began launching raids on groups in Syria and Iraq in September 2014, bombing raids have frequently targeted Nusra Front figures in Syria, also resulting in the deaths of scores of civilians. But Thursday's attack marked the first time a key figure had been targeted since the group changed its name.
The Nusra Front announced in July that it was ending a relationship with al-Qaeda and changing its name to Jabhat Fatah al-Sham in an attempt to appeal to those Syrians who had misgivings about its links with al-Qaeda, and the presence of foreign fighters in its ranks.
The move was dismissed by Washington, which said it would continue to consider the group "terrorists".
The Oslo Times International News Network