Moments ago, Zahran Alloush, the leader of Jaish al-Islam (Islamic Front) was killed by a Russian airstrike near Marj al-Sultan air base in Damascus city. Zahran Alloush is believed to have attended a meeting with local Islamist commanders near the Utaya area north of Marj al-Sultan; however, this meeting was swiftly interrupted by a Russian airstrike which left scores of insurgents dead including the most prominent rebel leader in Damascus, Zahran Alloush, himself. Furthermore, 7 local rebel commanders were killed along with reknown military spokesman, Hamza Bireqdar.
With many rebel suburbs already conceded to the Syrian Arab Army during the past year, this event serves as a major blow to rebel morale in Damascus. In 2011, the self-proclaimed Emir, Zahran Alloush, created the militant rebel group Liwa al-Islam to combat the Syrian government. Later, this militia merged with 50 other rebel groups to form the Saudi-backed Jaish al-Islam which announced Zahran Alloush would be its sole leader.
Rebel sources close to Jaish al-Islam have confirmed the death of Zahran Alloush to Reuters while pictures have emerged showing his dead body. Formerly, Zahran Alloush had been stationed at the rebel stronghold of Douma in Damascus. But with an imminent rebel crisis in the making at Marj al-Sultan due to a major Syrian Arab Army offensive, Alloush was reportedly forced to travel to the southern flank of Eastern Ghouta to overlook rebel defences – however, regrettably for the Syrian opposition, this fateful decision eventually led to his death.