International coalition warplanes killed a number of prominent ISIS leaders, including Abu Osama al-Iraqi and Amer ar-Rafdan, while travelling between Deir-ez-Zor and Raqqa, al-Souria Net’s correspondent Mutaz as-Saleh said.
Saleh added that coalition warplanes also targeted an accompanying convoy, killing ISIS fighters.
Local sources told al-Souria Net’s correspondent that Iraqi, as governor of Hassakeh, was widely known for his military experience. As one of the most important leaders in the battles of Shaddade between ISIS and the Nusra Front, Iraqi was involved in the beginning of ISIS’ advance in Raqqa and Hassakeh province.
Sources also explained that ar-Rafdan, a former regime policeman and Free Syrian Army leader, later joined the Nusra Front where he occupied a number of important positions, including supervisor of Kuniko gas field and Deir-ez-Zor granaries.
The sources added that ar-Rafdan had been linked to accusations of injustice, detention and financial corruption while carrying out security operations for Nusra. Ar-Rafdan’s relationship with the Front began to deteriorate, abandoning Nusra for ISIS as its popularity began to soar. ISIS appointed ar-Rafdan as emir of Deir-ez-Zor, taking advantage of his power and prestige among his family, as well as his finances, weapons and men.
Ar-Rafdan's village was also a prominent ISIS command center where its leaders used to meet, holding a number of ISIS prisons and a reception center for immigrants who wished to marry villagers in a step to tighten relations with ISIS’ leadership.
Ar-Rafdan, his village and his followers played a fundamental role in the battles of Deir-ez-Zor, initially withdrawing from the province only to return to take over the eastern and western countryside of Deir-ez-Zor.
Translated and edited by The Syrian Observer