The version contradicts that of local activists

Syria says Daesh leader died in operation by its troops in Deraa

PHOTO/AP - Syrian regime forces

Syria assured that the leader of the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group, Abu al Hasan al-Qurashi, was killed in an operation carried out by the army on 15 October in the southern province of Deraa, the official Syrian news agency SANA reported. 

"The self-styled terrorist 'Abu al Hasan al Hashemi al Qurashi' was killed during the security operation carried out by the Syrian Arab Army, with the support of local groups and civilians, against the IS organisation in the town of Yasim," SANA quoted an unidentified Deraa security source as saying. 

Al Qurashi had previously been identified as Abdelrahman al-Iraqi, so it was not known that he was the top leader of Islamic State. 

"The leader of the organisation, 'Abu al Hasan al Hashemi al Qurashi', whose death was announced a few days ago by the group, is the same as the so-called 'Abdelrahman al Iraqi, known as "Sword of Baghdad," the official agency added. 

It recalled that the operation in which the jihadist leader was killed targeted a barracks where other Daesh members were also present and who perished with him. 

Although forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad claim responsibility for al-Qurashi's elimination, their version contradicts that of local activists who deny their involvement in the anti-jihadist campaign carried out by local factions last October in the area. 

Also, US Central Command (CENTCOM) spokesman Joe Buccino said the terrorist was killed in an "operation conducted by the Free Syrian Army in the Deraa province of Syria", an apparent reference to rebel groups active in the region. 

Daesh was the first to announce his death in an audio released on Wednesday by the Daesh-affiliated audio-visual production company Al-Furqan, in which it also named Abu al-Husein al-Huseini al-Qurashi as his successor. 

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