Syria conflict: Jaysh al-Islam rebel leaders die in air strike

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The head and several leaders of one of Syria’s most powerful rebel groups, Jaysh al-Islam, have been killed in an air strike east of Damascus.

Founder Zahroun Alloush, 44, was among those killed when rockets hit a meeting place, rebels and the Syrian army said.

The Saudi-backed Islamist group is one of the biggest factions and is dominant in the Eastern Ghouta countryside.

It recently joined an opposition summit in Riyadh which produced a framework for peace talks with the government.

Ten rockets struck as Jaysh al-Islam commanders met, Saudi-funded al-Arabiya TV reported. The group’s deputy leader was also killed, al-Arabiya said Jaysh al-Islam later named Issam al-Buwaydani – who is also known as Abu Humam – as its new leader. He is from Douma – a town to the east of Damascus.

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