Syrian forces said on Wednesday they had killed ISIS’ “minister of war” among other senior figures in the terrorist organization in operations in northern Syria.
A Syrian source cited by regime media identified the war minister as Abu Musab al-Masri, without saying exactly when or where he was killed.
He was named among 13 senior ISIS figures killed in Syrian operations east of the city of Aleppo.
A previous ISIS minister of war, Abu Omar al-Shishani, died last year. The Pentagon said Shishani was likely to have been killed in a US air strike in Syria.
The jihadist group confirmed his death in July but said he had died fighting in the Iraqi city of Shirqat south of Mosul.
ISIS faces separate campaigns in northern Syria by the Russian-backed Syrian regime forces, the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, and Turkey-backed rebels fighting under the Free Syrian Army banner.
Baghdad-based ISIS expert Hisham al-Hashimi said the death of Masri, if confirmed, would be a “significant blow to the terrorist group ahead of the battle of Raqqa”. He said al-Masri was the fourth most senior figure in the organisation.
Also Wednesday, Syrian regime forces carried out a series of airstrikes on the southern city of Daraa that has been declared a safe zone under a recent Russia-sponsored deal, opposition activists and an independent monitor said.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said regime forces carried out at least 12 airstrikes and dropped at least nine barrel bombs on rebel-held parts of Daraa as intense clashes with fighters, including members of Levant Liberation Committee, continued in the city’s Manshiyeh neighborhood.
The monitoring group added that at least two rockets were launched by regime forces in the area.