Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Al-Qaida-Linked Gunmen Kill Syrian Rebel Leader It Underlines Struggle between Moderate, Extremist Rebels

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Al-Qaida-Linked Gunmen Kill Syrian Rebel Leader It Underlines Struggle between Moderate, Extremist Rebels

Article excerpt

BEIRUT -- Al-Qaida-linked gunmen have killed a rebel commander in Syria aligned with the Western-backed militias fighting against Bashar Assad's regime. The late-Thursday shooting is the highest- profile casualty of growing tensions between moderate and jihadi fighters among rebel forces.

Observers worried Friday that the commander's death will increase distrust and suspicion between forces already at odds over territory and leadership as the nearly three-year civil war continues in Syria.

Free Syrian Army spokesman Loay AlMikdad said Friday that members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant -- a group reportedly made up of al-Qaida's branches in Iraq and Syria -- were behind the killing of Kamal Hamami. Mr. Hamami, known as Abu Basir, served in the Supreme Military Council of the Free Syrian Army, a group headed by a secular-minded moderate that has the support of Western powers.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said gunmen shot Mr. Hamami dead after militants tried to remove a checkpoint he set up in the Jabal al-Turkoman mountain in the coastal province of Latakia. The observatory said two of his men were seriously wounded in the shooting.

Mr. AlMikdad told Al-Arabiya TV that Mr. Hamami "was assassinated at the hands of the forces of evil and crime at one of the checkpoints." He added that the group that killed Mr. Hamami "should hand over those who carried out this act to stand trial."

Activists monitoring the war previously reported occasional clashes between rebel groups and Islamic militants active in rebel- held areas -- especially in the north, where the opposition has control of a large part of the region. There also has been infighting between Kurdish and Arab groups over control of territory captured from the Assad government along the border with Turkey in the past year. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.