[QODLink]
Middle East

Senior al-Qaeda commander killed in Syria

Rebels say Abu Khaled al-Suri, a close aide to al-Qaeda leader Zawahiri, was killed in a suicide bomb attack in Aleppo.

Last updated: 24 Feb 2014 04:23
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Man thought to be Suri seen here in Syria in picture provided by SITE Intelligence Group [AFP]

A Syrian rebel commander, who fought alongside al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden and was close to its current chief Ayman al-Zawahiri, was killed by a suicide attack in Aleppo, intensifying in-fighting between rival armed groups.

The killing of Abu Khaled al-Suri on Sunday in a suicide bombing in the al-Halq area of Aleppo was confirmed by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. 

Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said he died along with six others when a fighter from the rival Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group blew himself up at an Ahrar al-Sham post in al-Halq.

Al-Suri's death occurred against the backdrop of bloody rebel infighting between an al-Qaeda-breakaway ISIL and an array of armed opposition groups.

ISIL suspected

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Sunday's assassination, but rebels quickly accused ISIL.

Speaking via Skype, Akram al-Halabi, spokesman for the Islamic Front, an alliance of seven rebel groups, told the Associated Press news agency that al-Suri had been critical of ISIL and its approach toward other rebel factions.

He said rebels believe that ISIL, which al-Qaeda publicly disowned earlier this month, was behind Sunday's bombing.

"The first fingers of blame point to the State,'' al-Halabi said. "Unfortunately this is going to make the infighting worse.''

Al-Suri had been critical of the group, blaming it for the internal conflict among rebels that has killed thousands of people across northern Syria since fighting began there in early January.

The senior al-Qaeda fighter's death could further complicate efforts to resolve those clashes, which have undermined rebel efforts to oust President Bashar al-Assad in Syria's nearly three-year civil war.

Since the rebel infighting began, government forces have chipped away at opposition-held areas, including around Aleppo.

289

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.
Featured
The world's newest professional sport comes from an unlikely source: video games.
The group's takeover of farms in Qaraqosh, 30km from Mosul, has caused fear among residents, and a jump in food prices.
Protests and online activism in recent months have brought a resurgence of ethnic Oromo nationalism in Ethiopia.
Chemotherapy is big business, but some US doctors say it could be overused and are pushing for cheaper and better care.
Amid vote audit and horse-trading, politicians of all hues agree a compromise is needed to avoid political instability.
join our mailing list