Commander of former Nusra group 'killed in Syria'

Jabhat Fateh al Sham is part of the Army of Conquest, the largest anti-regime rebel alliance in Syria, grouping Islamist factions including Ahrar al-Sham and Faylaq al-Sham.

A high-ranking member of the Fatah al-Sham rebel group in Syria is dead, rebel sources say, after fighter jets bombed a meeting of the group's leaders near Aleppo.

Since the US-led coalition was launched, air strikes have targeted Nusra Front figures in Syria, killing scores.

Fighting raged on in southern Aleppo on Saturday, the army and rebels said, hours after the United States and Russian Federation hailed a breakthrough deal to put Syria's peace process back on track.

Abu Omar Saraqeb was a founding member of Nusra Front, Al Qaeda's powerful Syrian branch, and had been among the jihadists who fought United States forces in Iraq after the U.S. invasion in 2003 before returning to Syria.

Jabhat al-Nusra was deeply involved in the Syrian Civil War, including intense battles against Islamic State militants after the jihadist group split from Al-Qaida in June 2014.

The development came only a day after a senior commander of al-Nusra Front was killed in the same Syrian province. An unspecified number of the extremists were also injured in the bombing.

Protesters at Jabhat Fateh al Sham demonstration
GETTYProtesters at a Jabhat Fateh al Sham anti-government demonstration

He has operated under different noms de guerre, making it hard to know his nationality.

Pro-jihadist accounts on Twitter mourned Saraqeb s death, calling him a "heroic martyr".

"The targeting of the symbols of this blessed revolution will only increase our determination to achieve our goals", pledged one brigade of the Army of Conquest".

Charles Lister, a senior fellow at the Middle East Institute think-tank, said Saraqeb had helped found the Army of Conquest past year and once served as the "emir" of Idlib province.

It is believed the latest deal on the table between Washington and Moscow aims, among other things, to broker a lasting ceasefire around Aleppo, while also allowing humanitarian access to conflict-hit areas.

Aleppo has been ravaged by fighting since the rebels seized eastern districts in 2012, transforming the former commercial hub into a divided and bombed-out city.

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