A US-led coalition air strike in northwestern Syria killed a top leader of al-Qaeda splinter group Jabhat Fateh al-Sham on Wednesday (18 January). Four other militants of the group were also killed in the strike on Idlib governorate, local reports said.

Abu Ibrahim al-Tunsi, the Tunisian jihadist, was reportedly a leading member of Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, formerly the al-Nusra Front.

"The air raid hit al-Tunsi's convoy in the Aqrabat district in Idlib," an activist told ARA News. However, coalition forces and the militant group are yet to confirm the leader's death.

US-led forces have targeted the splinter group's leadership in Syria in the past as well. In early January, the coalition succeeded in eliminating Abu Omar al-Turkistani, a military commander, and Abu Ali al-Tunsi, a security official. In 2016, coalition strikes killed Abu Afghan al-Masri, an Egyptian, Abu Faraj al-Masri, also an Egyptian, and Abu Omar Saraqeb, a Syrian jihadist, all leading the militant group in different capacities, the news agency reported.

Meanwhile, coalition forces also targeted Islamic State (Isis) positions in Iraq and Syria as part of their ongoing operation Inherent Resolve. In Syria, the coalition conducted 17 strikes near Abu Kamal, al-Bab, Raqqa, Ayn Isa and Dayr Az Zawr, destroying several tactical units, supply routes and oil wellheads.

The coalition also conducted six strikes in Iraq on Wednesday, mainly on Mosul, destroying three tunnel entrances, two vehicles, three vehicle-borne bombs, three barges, a watercraft, three fighting positions, three tactical vehicles, two mortars and an artillery piece, a tunnel, a fighting position, and 29 supply routes, the Pentagon said in a statement.

Coalition air strike against Islamic State
US-led air strike killed a top leader of Jabhat Fateh al-Sham and four other militants in Syria's Idlib governorate - File photo Reuters/U.S. Air Force/Staff Sgt. Joely Santiago/Handout