Syrian Rebels Vow to Fight On After Leader Killed

Army of Islam was battling Assad, ISIS
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 26, 2015 5:55 AM CST
Syria Airstrike Kills Top Rebel Commander
Syrians try to extinguish a fire caused by an airstrike on Douma.   (Douma Revolution via AP, File)

A Syrian insurgent group whose commander was assassinated by an airstrike near the Syrian capital has appointed a successor, vowing to continue fighting both the Syrian government and the ISIS. The Army of Islam, which is widely known to be supported by Saudi Arabia and Turkey, says it has appointed Essam al-Buwaydhani, a field commander also known as Abu Hammam, as the new leader of the group. He replaces Zahran Allouch, who was killed in the airstrike that targeted a meeting of rebel commanders in a Damascus suburb.

In a video posted online, a spokesman for the Army of Islam said Allouch's killing "will only increase our fight" against the government of President Bashar Assad and ISIS. "We are moving forth on the path, and we do not change or alter," the unidentified speaker said, reading from a statement. The Army of Islam took part earlier this month in an opposition meeting held in Saudi Arabia to agree on an opposition delegation that would negotiate with government representatives in peace talks planned for late January in Geneva. The Syrian government has always said it will not negotiate with terrorists and considers the Army of Islam to be terrorists. (More Syria stories.)

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