Islamic State’s governor for Aleppo reportedly killed in airstrike


Amr al Absi, Islamic State’s emir for Aleppo province, Syria. Image from the SITE Intelligence Group.

The emir or governor for Aleppo province in Syria, Amr al Absi, was reportedly killed in an airstrike yesterday according to jihadists associated with the Islamic State. It is unclear if the US or Russia killed Absi, but the US is believed to have carried out a strike in northern Syria that same day.

From the SITE Intelligence Group:

High-ranking Islamic State (IS) official Amr al Absi (AKA Abu al Athir) was announced dead by users on social media.

Amr al-Absi, understood to be the governor of IS’ Aleppo Province, was reportedly killed in an airstrike in northern Syria on March 3, 2016. Users reporting his death also showed a picture of what was presented as his dead body

The US military carried out a single airstrike in northern Syria yesterday, in the town of Maraa. According to the US Department of Defense, “Near Mar’a, a strike struck an ISIL [Islamic State] tactical unit and three ISIL fighting positions.” The US military has not reported that it targeted or killed Absi.

The Russian military, which is also launching airstrikes against the Islamic State in Aleppo and elsewhere, has not stated that it conducted air operations in Aleppo on March 3.

While it is often stated that the Russians and the Syrian government have avoided the Islamic State in lieu of targeting the so-called moderate Syrian rebels (including al Qaeda’s branch, the Al Nusrah Front, and its close ally, Ahrar al Sham), this is untrue. Syrian forces have engaged the Islamic State in Dier al Zour since it was founded, battled Islamic State fighters and overran Palmyra last year, while continuing assaults along the Aleppo-Khanasir road (Russian aircraft engaged Islamic State forces in that clash).

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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