Syrian Rebels Mourn Loss of Leader, Name Replacement

Syrian militant groups mourned Saturday the death of a powerful rebel commander who was killed in an airstrike near Damascus before naming a top military commander as his successor.

Syrian rebels and the government said Friday that Zahran Alloush, founder of the Army of Islam, was killed in a raid that targeted the group's headquarters in eastern Ghouta, a suburb of Damascus.

Alloush's death is a significant blow to the armed opposition, bolstering President Bashar al-Assad ahead of new peace talks scheduled for early 2016.

The Army of Islam appointed a top field commander, Essam al-Buwaydhani, a field commander known as Abu Hammam, as Alloush's replacement on Saturday.

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