This picture shows a damaged building in the Syrian rebel-held Al-Rashidin district of western Aleppo’s countryside near Idlib province. —AFP
Jihadist ‘involved in the executions of Western hostages’ were killed
BEIRUT: The US-led coalition against the Islamic State group said yesterday it killed a senior jihadist involved in the executions of an American aid worker and other Western hostages. Abu Al-Umarayn was accused of involvement in the November 2014 beheading of Peter Kassig, a former US ranger who was doing volunteer humanitarian work when captured in 2013. “He was killed and more information will be available after a full assessment,” Sean Ryan, spokesman for the US-led coalition, said in a statement issued after the Sunday strikes. “Al Umarayn had given indications of posing an imminent threat to coalition forces and he was involved in the killing of American citizen and former US Army Ranger, Peter Kassig,” he said.
Ryan said the jihadist had also been involved in the execution of several other prisoners. It is the first time the coalition, which has been hunting down IS fighters in Iraq and Syria since 2014, has announced the killing of a jihadist leader linked to Kassig’s death. At the time of the execution, IS released a video showing Kassig’s severed head but did not publish footage of the decapitation, as it had done for other hostages. Syria’s official Sana news agency had earlier Sunday accused the US-led coalition of firing on Syrian army positions in remote eastern regions.
“The American coalition forces launched around 8:00 pm this evening several missiles against some positions of our forces in the Ghorab mountains south of Sukhna,” it said. Quoting a military source, it said the bombardment had caused only material damage. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said coalition forces fired “more than 14 missiles” at a Syrian army convoy as it was passing through the desert. “The group was lost in the middle of the desert around 35 kilometers from the Al-Tanf base”, the Observatory’s director Rami Abdel Rahman said.