The militant Nusra Front group says its military commander has been killed in an air strike. A number of the group's other prominent leaders are also believed dead.
The Nusra Front, al Qaeda's Syrian affiliate, said on Thursday its top military commander, Abu Hommam al-Shami, had been killed in a blast targeting a Nusra meeting in the northwestern Idlib province.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed the information, saying a number of other figures were also killed. It said it was not clear whether the airstrike was from the Syrian army or a US-led coalition. That coalition has been primarily hitting targets of the Islamic State - a rival of the Nusra Front - in Iraq and Syria since last year.
The fate of the group's overall leader, Abu Mohammad al-Golani, was not clear.
The Nusra Front has been battling western-backed Syrian rebels this year, in an attempt to consolidate its power in the north of the country. It claimed responsibility for an attack on a building housing the Air Force Intelligence offices in Syria's second city, Aleppo, on Wednesday.
The growing power of the Nusra Front and the Islamic State, combined with the weakness of the mainstream Syrian opposition, is complicating efforts to end the conflict in Syria, which has killed some 200,000 people since 2011.
jr/gsw (Reuters, AP, AFP)