A drone strike in northwestern Syria on Sunday killed two senior commanders with an al-Qaeda-linked group, opposition activists said.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition war monitor, said the strike was believed to have been carried out by the U.S.-led coalition, which has been targeting extremists in Syria for years.
The drone strike hit a vehicle carrying the two commanders — a Jordanian and a Yemeni — in the northwestern province of Idlib, the last remaining rebel stronghold in war-torn Syria. Idlib is dominated by al-Qaeda-linked militants, and is also home to 3 million civilians.
The Observatory said the men killed were with the al-Qaeda-linked Horas al-Din group, Arabic for “Guardians of Religion.” Horas al-Din are hardcore al-Qaeda elements who broke away from Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, the strongest insurgent group in the Idlib enclave.
Al-Mohrar Media, an activist collective in northern Syria, said the dead were Horas al-Din’s general military commander, known as Qassam al-Urduni, or “Qassam the Jordanian.” It said the second man was a Yemeni citizen known as Bilal al-Sanaani, the commander of the group’s so-called “desert army.”
In December, a drone strike killed a senior Horas al-Din commander, the Jordanian citizen Bilal Khuraisat, also known as Abu Khadija al-Urduni.
In July last year, the U.S. military said it struck an al-Qaeda leadership and training facility in northern Syria, where it said attacks threatening Americans and others were being planned. The U.S. Central Command said in a statement at the time that the strike occurred near the northern province of Aleppo.