Leader of Turkey-backed Syrian rebel group killed in Aleppo

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Rebel fighters of the Turkey-backed Sultan Murad Brigade entering Jarablus. File photo

ARA News 

ALEPPO – The military commander of the Sultan Murad Brigade, a Syrian rebel group supported by Turkey, was killed on Tuesday. Military sources reported that the commander died while fighting the Islamic State (ISIS) in the northern countryside of Aleppo Governorate.

Ali Sheikh Saleh, better known as Abu Ibrahim al-Askeri, died when a mine exploded near the Turkmen Barah village. The Sultan Murad Brigade confirmed the death of its commander in a statement on Tuesday.

Prior to his death, Saleh was overseeing elements of the Sultan Murad Brigade as they attacked ISIS forward positions. The brigade is engaged in the Euphrates Shield Operation, which began on August 24, with the goal of seizing territory that abuts the Syrian-Turkish border.

The Turkmen Sultan Murad Brigade is heavily backed by Turkey. The late-commander’s two children and wife are based in Turkey’s southern city of Gaziantep. Turkey’s Milliyet daily reported that Saleh was also buried in Gaziantep on Tuesday. 

Other Turkish-backed groups, including Nour al-Din al-Zenki, offered their condolences.

The Euphrates Shield operation, which has now entered its 42nd day, is advancing towards the symbolic town of Dabiq, with the support of both Turkey and the United States.

Brett McGurk, the Presidential Envoy for the anti-ISIS Coalition said on Sunday: “The coalition is actively supporting [Turkey-backed] Syrian opposition forces as they advance to within a few kilometers of [ISIS’] weakening stronghold Dabiq.”

The nearby village of Turkmen Barah was taken by the Turkey-backed rebels on Tuesday.

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg | Source: ARA News 

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