On March 18, Alaa al-Omar, a senior commander of the Turkish-backed Ahrar al-Sham Movement, was assassinated in the southwestern part of Greater Idlib.
An improvised explosive device (IED) ripped through al-Omar’s vehicle killing him immediately. The incident took place in the city of Jisr al-Shughur, which is located on the M4 highway.
Al-Omar, who is known as “Abu Ahmad,” is from the town of al-Rami in Idlib’s southern countryside. He was reportedly the Commander of the Abbas Brigade, one of Ahrar al-Sham’s largest units.
Pro-government sources claimed that al-Omar was heavily involved in the efforts to block the M4 highway, which links the coastal city of Lattakia with Aleppo city. Militants and opposition supporters prevented Russia and Turkish forces from patrolling the highway last week.
No group has claimed responsibility for the assassination of al-Omar, thus far. However, Ahrar al-Sham commanders are known to be a target of the Damascus government and its allies.
Last December, Russian airstrikes on southeast Idlib injured Ahrar al-Sham General Commander Abu Jaber al-Sheikh and killed several senior commanders of the group.