Syrian rebel commander killed in airstrike
Abu Omar Saraqib, who also goes by the name Abu Hajer al-Homsi, was killed during in an air raid in a rural part of Aleppo, which rebels say was likely carried out by a U.S. fighter jet, though the nationality of the jet has not been officially figured out.
Abu Omar was killed on the outskirts of Aleppo on Thursday, rebels said they weren’t certain whose warplane was responsible for the attack on him during a meeting with other rebel commanders.
The rebel group, a former al-Qaida affiliate, announced the commander’s “martyrdom” in a post on Twitter. Russia, Syria and the U.S.-led military coalition against Islamic State regularly carried out airstrikes in the area. Col. John Dorrian, a spokesman for the coalition, said yesterday that the alliance’s aircraft weren’t responsible for any airstrikes against Mr. Saraqib.
Rebels credited Mr. Saraqib with a major role in breaking a government siege last month that had been imposed on rebel-held districts of Aleppo, where an estimated 300,000 civilians live. The government has used the tactic of forced deprivation routinely across Syria to force the surrender of opposition-controlled areas. Syria Conquest Front, formerly the Nusra Front, is considered the strongest and most disciplined Syrian rebel group among dozens of fractured and disorganised factions currently fighting the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
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