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Syrian rebel group leader killed

The head of one of Syria's largest rebel groups has been killed in a suicide bombing alongside many of his leading fighters, activists and state media reported tonight.

Hassan Aboud of Ahrar al-Sham, an ultra-conservative Syrian rebel group, was killed in the north-western town of Ram Hamdan in the province of Idlib, an activist collective called the Edlib News Network and the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.

Both groups said that other leading group members were killed after a suicide bomber detonated his explosives belt in a meeting of Ahrar al-Sham's leaders.

The Observatory bases its information from a network of activists on the ground.

The group previously fought against the extremist Islamic State group, which now holds a swath of territory across Syria and Iraq.

Ahrar al-Sham had blamed the Islamic State group for the killing of one of their leaders in February, a man known as Abu Khaled al-Souri.

Ahrar al-Sham advocates the implementation of an ultra-conservative interpretation of Islam, but had worked with more moderate rebel groups trying to oust president Bashar Assad.

It had become the most prominent member of a broader rebel coalition known as the Islamic Front. But that group was struggling in recent months after it appeared that donor funding had dried up.

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