Senior Jabhat al-Nusra commander Abu Hammam al-Shami 'killed in Syria air strike'

Leaders of the front claim that al-Shami was killed during a meeting with other Jabhat al-Nusra commanders

Jamie Campbell
Friday 06 March 2015 09:00 GMT
Members of jihadist group the Al-Nusra Front, which the West opposes
Members of jihadist group the Al-Nusra Front, which the West opposes

An air strike by Syrian government forces has killed a senior commander of Jabhat al-Nusra, the group and state media have reported.

The SANA state news agency said that Abu Hammam al-Shami, also known as al-Farouq al-Suri, was killed in a special army operation in the Idlib province on Thursday.

Al-Shami had held the title of general military commander of the group, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda.

Members of the group said that he had been killed in a US drone strike last week, however representatives on Thursday claimed that Shami had died earlier that day whilst in a meeting with other senior Jabhat al-Nusra commanders.

Thursday’s air strike came a day after the group claimed responsibility for a deadly attack on the intelligence headquarters of Syria’s air force in Aleppo.

Colonel Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, said: “We cannot confirm press reports of the deaths of senior Jabhat al-Nusra leaders near the province of Idlib.”

He added that: “Neither the US or the coalition have conducted air strikes near the location in recent days.”

The Jabhat al-Nusra Front first surfaced in January 2012, releasing online statements claiming responsibility for suicide bombings in Aleppo and Damascus.

The leaders of the well-armed group are reportedly considering cutting links with al-Qaeda to form a purely Syrian organisation. They are currently on the UN’s sanctions list and have been a designated a terrorist group by the US since 2012.

Qatar is reportedly at the heart of the a proposal which would provide the group with funding if it agrees to aid in the toppling of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in