SOHR Says Jihadist Leader Al-Athari Killed by Airstrike in Libya

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The Director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), Rami Abdel-Rahman, said that the Syrian jihadist Samer Al-Atrash, whose alias was Abu Yacoub Al-Athari, had been killed by an airstrike west of the Libyan city of Sirte.

Al-Atrash was killed alongside several other fighters while attempting to advance east towards Sirte.

According to the Observatory’s report, the Syrian jihadist was expelled from the Al-Nusra Front due to corruption and ethics violations before joining the Syrian National Army’s ranks in Afrin in January.

The SOHR stated that Al-Atrash was not a prominent leader, but was among the thousands of Syrian fighters brought to Libya. The Syrian death toll is believed to have reached 390 fighters.

Abdel-Rahman said that the Observatory stopped publishing the amount of fighters in Libya, which are thought to have reached 13,000. This is because the international community has turned a blind eye to these reports.

He stressed that Libya had become an easy route for IS, without the international community taking any steps to stop them.

Abdel-Rahman also said that the SOHR had previously spoken of the IS battalion, which had joined the Syrian National Army, claiming that “we obtained the names of 49 IS elements who have gone to fight in Libya and the international community has done nothing”.

Ankara continues escalating its involvement in the Libyan conflict by supporting the Government of National Accord (GNA). This is despite Turkey participating and agreeing to the results of the Berlin Conference, where foreign states active in Libya agreed to uphold the UN arms embargo.