On May 4, a US drone strike killed a former rebel commander in the southeastern countryside of Deir Ezzor, which is held by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
The former rebel commander, “Bassim Atuan al-Bilal,” was reportedly driving his mini truck back to his house from the al-Balhawi mosque in the outskirts of the town of Shnan when he was targeted by a US combat drone.
Al-Bilal was killed on the spot as a result of the drone strike. A large force of the SDF was quickly deployed at the strike scene, which was tightly guarded.
On Twitter, Col. Wayne Marotto, a spokesman for the US-led coalition said that the strike in Deir Ezzor killed a “terrorist” of ISIS. Marotto didn’t provide any additional details.
“The Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve conducted an airstrike removing a Daesh terrorist from the battlefield near Deir Ezzor, Syria today,” the spokesman said. “The [US-led] coalition and our partners will continue our mission to defeat Daesh, disrupt their resources and eliminate Daesh remnants.”
Opposition sources revealed that al-Bilal was a former commander of the US-backed Free Syrian Army, namely a group known as Jund al-Rahman. In the last few years, al-Bilal worked as a gas disrupter for the SDF’s civil administration.
It is quite possible that al-Bilal was a secret commander of ISIS. If this is the case, the man’s history with Syrian rebels and his work for the SDF raise some serious questions about US strategy in Syria, which blo
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