Russia jets Syria
Air strikes hit the headquarters of the Jaysh al Islam, a rebel group, in a Damascus suburb when top leaders had gathered for a meeting Reuters file photo

Several top Syrian rebel leaders are suspected to have been killed when Russian jets pounded their headquarters in a Damascus suburb. Zahran Alloush, chief of the powerful Jaysh al Islam group, is among the dead.

The air strike targeted a gathering of the leaders in Eastern Ghouta, the Britain-based monitoring group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. The chief of the Syrian opposition bloc called National Coalition has confirmed the death of Alloush.

The Saudi-backed Jaysh al Islam (Army of Islam) is a powerful faction fighting against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime. The group controls thousands of fighters. At least two rebel sources confirmed to Reuters the death of their leader. It is yet to be independently confirmed who carried out the strikes.

Russian forces have been accused of targeting anti-Assad leaders and positions since it began its aerial attacks towards the end of September. Moscow has denied the allegations and insisted it targets only the Islamic State (Isis).