Top Iraqi militia commander killed in Syria

Abou Fadl el-Abbas brigade commander fought alongside President Assad’s forces

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A top Iraqi militia commander fighting in Syria alongside President Bashar al-Assad’s forces has been killed and his body arrived in Iraq’s Negef governorate on Thursday, Al Arabiya television reported.

The Syrian Revolution General Commission (SRGC) said Abbas Hussein Ridha, a field commander of Abou Fadl el-Abbas brigade, was killed in a heavy battle with rebel forces outside Damascus.

The SRGC added that several Iranian soldiers and 20 Syrian regime fighters were captured in the fighting.

Abou Fadhl el-Abbas brigade is one of several foreign militias fighting alongside Assad’s forms in Syria and is believed to have been involved in the Syrian civil war since 2012.

The Lebanese Hezbollah group has also been actively involved in Syria. Its chief Hassan Nasrallah said on Thursday that he would keep his forces in the country “as long as they are needed” by President Assad.

“As long as the reasons (to fight in Syria) remain, our presence there will remain,” Reuters quoted Nasrallah as saying in a speech to tens of thousands of Lebanese Shiites marking the religious ceremony of Ashura in southern Beirut.

The Syrian network of Human rights reported 44 persons were killed throughout Syria on Thursday. These include five children, three women, three deaths after torture, and six from the Free Syrian Army (FSA).

Peace process

A Syrian newspaper reported on Thursday that a long-delayed peace conference on Syria's bloody conflict will be held on Dec. 12.

Syrian daily al-Watan, citing diplomats in Paris, said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry had told his French counterpart Laurent Fabius that U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon would announce the date on Nov. 25.

“The organizers of Geneva II want the conference to be held before the end of the year,” Munzer Aqbiq told AFP.

The Syria regime has said it is willing to attend, but that President Assad’s departure from office will not be on the table.

The opposition has been divided over going to any such conference, but said this week it would attend under certain conditions, including Assad's departure and exclusion from the transition process.

(With AFP)