Russia: Syrian extremist leader critically wounded in airstrike

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The leader of an al-Qaeda-linked group in Syria was critically injured, losing part of his arm in an airstrike targeting a high-level meeting of key militants, the Russian military reported on Wednesday.

The airstrike injured Abu Mohammad al-Joulani, the interim leader of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, an al-Qaeda-linked alliance of hard-line militants.

Russia’s Defence Ministry said in an emailed statement that a dozen field commanders and about 50 militants who were guarding the location were also killed.

The independent Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Abdel Rahman told newsmen the airstrike was conducted to eliminate extremist militants believed to have been involved in an attack on a civilian area in the north-western province of Idlib.

“Russian airstrikes on Tuesday targeted a militant-controlled airbase, Abu al-Duhur, in Idlib province.

“The planes were focusing on one point inside the airport, which has underground tunnels inside it,’’ the monitoring group’s head Abdel Rahman added.

However, he could not confirm Russia’s claim of critically wounding al-Julani.


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