According to the rebel sources and Syrian army, Zahran Alloush, a top Syrian rebel leader and head of the most powerful insurgent group in the eastern suburbs of Damascus was killed in an air strike, Reuters reports.
The rebel sources said that in the raid Russian planes fired at least 10 missiles at a secret headquarters of the group, which is the largest rebel faction in the area and has about 15,000 to 20,000 fighters, according to Western intelligence.
It will weaken rebel’s control of al Ghouta, the rural eastern suburban area of Damascus, the rebels said.
Defense experts say the disarray among the rebel forces could also consolidate Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s control over the rest of the area.
Several rebel leaders have been killed since Russia began an aerial campaign on September 30 in support of its ally Assad, although Moscow has insisted that it is concentrating its attacks on Islamic State.
The Syrian army said Alloush was killed as the result of intelligence on the ground. Rebels blamed Russian sophisticated spying planes which they say rarely leave their skies.
A rebel source said the group had chosen one of their top military commanders, Abu Hammam al Buwaidani, as their new head.