Ahrar al-Sham lost one of its leading men on Saturday as a Russian jet launched a pinpoint airstrike on Abd Allah Dughaim’s hideout in the town of Tramla in southern Idlib. A further two lower tier Ahrar al-Sham fighters were also killed by the blast.
According to information obtained by Al-Masdar News, local informants under the payroll of the Russian government had given the coordinates to the Russian Command Center which in turn ordered an experienced Russian pilot to conduct the assassination operation.
Abd Allah Dughaim was commander-in-chief of the Jund al-Sunni brigade, a subdivision of Ahrar al-Sham. The commander spearheaded numerous succesful offensives in southern Aleppo and northern Hama and has long been considered a nuisance to the Syrian Army.
In a related story, a low-ranking Ahrar al-Sham commander was also killed in northern Hama. Abu Omar al-Homsi was neutralized during clashes with Syrian ground troops.
Idlib province has been controlled almost exclusively by Jaish al-Fateh (JaF), a coalition of rebel factions, since 2015; however, several Islamist groups are vying for power in the region which has been the root cause of infighting and cross-faction assassinations.
With unemployment widespread across the governorate and some locals opposed to the somewhat harsh JaF sharia rule, hundreds of civilians and fighters have been enrolled by the Russian and Syrian intelligence agencies.