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No US involvement in Syrian rebel leader death

The Pentagon on Friday said it played no role in the death of the commander of Syria’s largest rebel coalition

Published: Updated:

The Pentagon on Friday said it played no role in the death of the commander of Syria’s largest rebel coalition, who was killed in an air strike near Aleppo.

Abu Omar Saraqeb, who led the former Al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Nusra Front, which took on the new name of Fateh al-Sham Front in July, reportedly died when a strike hit a meeting of rebel leaders.

The militant Fateh al-Sham is a leading member of the Army of Conquest alliance, which was meeting Thursday night, killing Saraqeb and another rebel commander.

“It was not a US strike,” Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis said. “Whatever happened there, it was not something that the US military did.”

A US-led coalition is conducting daily strikes in northern Syria, but its focus is on ISIS and it has steered clear of the carnage unfolding in Aleppo, where Russian and Syrian government forces are battling rebels.

“We don’t have any reason to be in Aleppo, it’s not a place where ISIS is,” Davis said. A US defense official later told AFP that Russia was the “leading suspect” in the strike.

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