Mahdi Army members assassinated in Syria?

Muqtada al Sadr, the leader of the Mahdi Army.

An interesting report from Omar at Iraqi The Model:

Unknown gunmen assassinated 30 Mahdi Army commanders in the Syrian capital Damascus. The killings, made in the past few weeks, were all made “quietly, inside the victims apartments”, said an unnamed source in the Sadr movement. The source added that among those assassinated was Laith al-Ka’bi, who commanded the Mahdi Army in the Palestine Street neighborhood in eastern Baghdad. The report adds that large numbers of Mahdi Army operatives left to Iran out of fear the assassinations wave could expand to target them.

There is no indication of who is conducting the assassination campaign in Damascus. Is this an internal power struggle, Sunni retribution, or the elimination of elements that have become a liability to Iran’s Qods Force? Or something else?

Also, the leader of the League of the Righteous (Asaib al Haq) is Akram al Kabi; he took command of the Mahdi Army faction in 2007 after the US detained Qais Qazali. It is not clear if Laith and Akram are related.

The Iraqi government is reconciling with the Iranian Qods Force-backed League of the Righteous; it is unclear what impact, if any, the assassinations in Damascus may have on the efforts.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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