Damascus (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The military leader of the Nusra Front, an Islamic extremist group operating in Syria and affiliated with al Qaeda, was killed in a government forces air raid launched yesterday in the northwest of the country.
His death was confirmed by Syrian state media and
by the same jihadist movement, which also confirmed, in addition to the death
of Abu Homam al-Shami, that of three other prominent leaders.
The explosion targeted the group's leaders who had gathered in the village of Hobait (rural area of Idlib province) to shape future combat strategies. Military sources in Damascus add that the Syrian air force led "targeted attacks" against the Nusra Front and other Islamist groups in the area of Abu al-Dhuhur, north-east of Hobait.
The Front is one of the most powerful and bloodthirsty movements among those fighting to overthrow the government of Syrian President Bashar al Assad. On March 4 it launched an offensive against an intelligence building in Aleppo, which killed dozens of people.
For some time the leaders of al Nusra Front have been considering cutting ties with al Qaeda, to form a new entity supported by the wealthy Gulf states, who could finance the battle to topple Assad.
These nations, like much of the Western bloc, are
looking for allies in the region both in the fight against the Islamic State as
well as in the war against the forces loyal to the Syrian president.
Since the beginning of the uprising against the Syrian President Bashar al Assad, in 2011, over 3.2 million people have fled Syria and 7.6 million others are internally displaced. At least 200 thousand people have been killed in the conflict, many of them civilians.
It was in the shadow of the Syrian conflict that extremist groups such as the Islamic State emerged, before making a rapid advance in the region by tearing large chunks of territory from the hands of Damascus and Baghdad and imposing a reign of terror.