On January 25, a drone strike killed a senior commander of the Ahrar al-Sham Movement who is close to al-Qaeda-affiliated Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS).
The commander, Saddam al-Musa, was reportedly targeted by an unidentified combat drone near his house in the Turkish-occupied town of al-Hadath, which is located in the northern countryside of Syria’s Aleppo.
Al-Musa was the commander of Ahrar al-Sham’s Eastern Sector, which is allied to HTS. The commander was very close to HTS leader Abu Mohamad al-Julani and it is said that he had pledged his allegiance to the terrorist group, which occupies the Greater Idlib region, in secret.
Syrian opposition activists said that al-Musa, also known “Abu Uday Aulan,” was threatened by the Turkish military prior to his assassination over his role in spreading HTS influence in Turkish-occupied areas.
Earlier this month, the commander refused Turkish orders to withdraw from al-Homran crossing in the northern Aleppo countryside, which links Turkish-occupied areas with the territory of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces. The crossing is one of the key oil smuggling routes in war-torn Syria.