Top Syrian rebel commander killed in Russian airstrike

BEIRUT -- An airstrike near the Syrian capital, Damascus, on Friday killed top rebel commander Zahran Allouch, who led one of the most powerful groups fighting against President Bashar Assad's government, opposition activists said.

See Full Article

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said an airstrike hit an Army of Islam meeting near the Damascus suburb of Otaya, killing several rebel commanders including Allouch.

The Observatory said warplanes hit a meeting during which Army of Islam commanders were preparing to launch an offensive against government forces and those of Lebanon's Hezbollah near Damascus.

The Local Coordination Committees said Allouch was killed by a Russian airstrike in the al-Marj area near Damascus.

The Lebanon-based AL-Mayadeen TV said Allouch was killed during a meeting to reconcile two feuding militant factions near Damascus. The station said 13 airstrikes hit eastern Damascus on Friday.

Mazen al-Shami, an opposition activist based near Damascus, said Russian warplanes fired 10 missiles at the site where Allouch and top commanders in his group were meeting in Otaya. He said several officials and commanders were killed or wounded.

Saudi-backed Allouch was one of the most powerful rebel commanders and his group controls large parts of the Damascus suburbs. The Army of Islam faction is the most powerful group fighting government forces as well as the Islamic State group near Damascus.

A former prisoner who was released in a general amnesty after the uprising against Assad began in March 2011, Allouch joined the armed opposition and formed the Army of Islam -- which became one of the most organized rebel factions in Syria.

His group was behind the shelling of Damascus in recent months with mortar shells, attacks that killed and wounded scores of civilians.

The Army of Islam took part earlier this month in an opposition meeting held in Saudi Arabia to agree on an opposition delegation that would negotiate with government representatives in planned peace talks. The government has always said it will not negotiate with terrorists and considers the Army of Islam to be terrorists.

His death comes a month before peace talks between the Syrian government and the opposition are scheduled to begin in Geneva.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Saad Hariri returns to Lebanon for independence day celebration

    World News CBC News
    Saad Hariri attended independence day celebrations in Beirut on Wednesday after returning to Lebanon for the first time since resigning as prime minister in a broadcast from Saudi Arabia. Hariri, whose sudden resignation on Nov. Source
  • Cold war drama caught on video as North Korean soldier escapes

    World News CTV News
    SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of - On a cold, grey afternoon, a North Korean soldier races toward freedom. His jeep speeds down a road, past barren fields and across the replacement for the Bridge of No Return used for prisoner exchanges during the Korean War. Source
  • Syria's divided opposition look to present unified vision ahead of peace talks

    World News CTV News
    BEIRUT - Syria's notoriously fragmented opposition is gathering in the Saudi capital of Riyadh for a meeting. It is intended to close ranks and come up with a unified vision ahead of a new round of peace talks in Geneva. Source
  • Zimbabwe's ousted VP returning, expected to be sworn in as president

    World News CBC News
    Zimbabwe's former vice-president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is expected to be sworn in as president following the resignation of Robert Mugabe, will return home on Wednesday, a ruling party Zanu-PF official said. Mnangagwa, whose sacking this month prompted the military takeover that forced Mugabe out, was expected to land in Zimbabwe at 6:30 a.m. Source
  • Human rights group calls on Indonesian forces to stop virginity tests

    World News CTV News
    JAKARTA, Indonesia - Indonesia's military and police continue to perform abusive virginity tests on female recruits three years after the World Health Organization declared they had no scientific validity, an international human rights group said Wednesday. Source
  • 3-year-old killed, 3 others injured in Conn. crash after pursuit

    World News CTV News
    WATERBURY, Conn. - Authorities say a teenage driver fleeing police in Connecticut has crashed his car at an intersection, killing a 3-year-old and injuring three other people on the sidewalk. State police say Waterbury officers in an unmarked car tried to stop the unidentified 18-year-old Tuesday afternoon. Source
  • Australia loses 9th legislator in citizenship crisis

    World News CTV News
    CANBERRA, Australia - An Australian senator who is British by descent has become the ninth lawmaker to leave Parliament over a 116-year-old constitutional ban on dual nationals running for office that threatens to bring down the government. Source
  • Full interview: Zimbabwe opposition leader pushes for democracy

    World News CTV News
    Despite being arrested and beaten for challenging ousted Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe, the country’s opposition leader wishes to see a peaceful transition of power. In an interview with CTV National News Chief Anchor and Senior Editor Lisa LaFlamme, Morgan Tsvangirai said the top priority in Zimbabwe is installing a democratic election process that is fair, credible and “irreversible. Source
  • White House personnel investigated for improper foreign contact during Trump's Asia trip

    World News CBC News
    Three U.S. military personnel allegedly had improper contact with foreign women while traveling with U.S. President Donald Trump on his trip this month to Asia, the Washington Post reported on Tuesday. The three Army non-commissioned officers, who worked for the White House Communications Agency, have been reassigned from their White House jobs, according to the Post, which cited officials familiar with the situation. Source
  • Dramatic video shows escape, shooting of North Korean defector

    World News CTV News
    SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of -- A North Korean soldier made a desperate dash to freedom in a jeep and then on foot, being shot at least five times as he limped across the border and was rescued by South Korean soldiers, according to dramatic video released by the U.S. Source