Top Syrian rebel leader killed in eastern suburbs of Damascus

December 26 12:05 2015

The leader of the most powerful insurgent groups in Damascus has been killed in an air raid targeting the group’s headquarters on Friday, according to rebel sources and the Syrian army.

He reflected the difficulties in identifying moderate rebels from extremists and other militants in Syria. He denies holding them although they were kidnapped from an area under Army of Islam control. Assad’s government regards the rebels as terrorists and had said it would not negotiate with them, though on Thursday it appeared to soften that stand. In addition to Allouch, it said the airstrike killed “a large number of commanders of Ahrar al-Sham and Faylaq al-Rahman”, other rebel factions who are often allied with the Army of Islam.

The combined developments all strengthen Assad’s position as his government prepares for peace talks that the United Nations is planning to convene in Geneva late next month. However, SANA’s story still labeled Jaysh al-Islam “terrorists”, in line with the Syrian government’s assessment of the group.

Several Syrian opposition activists blamed Russian Federation for the assassination.

Islamic State seized large parts of Yarmouk earlier this year. Hezbollah today revealed the deal is much broader and included other Islamist factions, including al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front.

The Army of Islam appointed a top field commander, Essam al-Buwaydhani, a field commander known as Abu Hammam, as Alloush’s replacement on Saturday.

Diplomats such as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry have promoted ending the civil war as the most important step in defeating Islamic State fighters and bringing stability to the region.

A senior member of Jaish al-Islam said three planes had targeted a “secret meeting” of commanders, and confirmed that Alloush was among those killed.

Alloush’s killing, which came amid the deaths of at least 30 high-level rebels within 48 hours according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, could be a significant moment after more than four years of grinding war.


Zahran Alloush head of the powerful Jaish al Islam Syrian rebel group was killed along with five other commanders

Top Syrian rebel leader killed in eastern suburbs of Damascus
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