General blamed for 2012 journalist deaths dies in Deir Ezzor blast

Issam Zahreddine
Updated 19 October 2017
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General blamed for 2012 journalist deaths dies in Deir Ezzor blast

BEIRUT: A general in the Syrian regime accused over the 2012 deaths of prominent US journalist Marie Colvin and French photographer Remi Ochlik has been killed by an explosion in the east of the country.
Issam Zahreddine’s death in the city of Deir Ezzor, where Russian-backed regime forces are battling Daesh, was reported by pro-regime media in Damascus.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor said he was killed on Wednesday when an explosive device went off in Deir Ezzor city, most of which is now under the control of regime forces.
With his handlebar moustache and bushy grey beard, the 56-year-old general was a recognizable figure in Syria and had a cult following among diehard supporters of the regime.
Involved in the early days of the repression of a 2011 revolt against the regime of President Bashar Assad, he led the battle that expelled rebels from Syria’s third city of Homs five years ago.
In a lawsuit filed in the US in 2016, Colvin’s family alleged that her death was the result of shelling of the media center where she and Ochlik were, in a plan “formulated at the highest levels of the Syrian government.”
“The plan was executed by Syrian military forces under the command of Major General Issam Zahreddine of the Syrian Republican Guard,” it alleged.
Zahreddine had recently commanded the 7,000 forces that were besieged by Daesh in Deir Ezzor until more government troops were sent in and broke the jihadists’ stranglehold on the city.
Originally from the southern province of Suweida, Zahreddine was one of the highest-ranking army officers from Syria’s Druze minority.


Iraq court condemns to death ‘deputy of Daesh leader’

Updated 19 September 2018
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Iraq court condemns to death ‘deputy of Daesh leader’

  • An Iraqi courtsentenced to death by hanging one of the most prominent leaders of Daesh
  • Al-Ithawi was extradited from Turkey earlier this year having fled Syria as the group’s self-proclaimed “caliphate” crumbled

BAGHDAD: An Iraqi court on Wednesday sentenced a prominent militant described as a deputy of Daesh group leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi to death on terrorism charges.
“The Karkh criminal court in Baghdad sentenced to death by hanging one of the most prominent leaders of Daesh, who served as a deputy of Baghdadi,” judicial spokesman Abdel Sattar Bayraqdar said.
Ismail Alwan Salman Al-Ithawi was extradited from Turkey earlier this year having fled Syria as the group’s self-proclaimed “caliphate” crumbled.
He was tracked and detained through cooperation between Turkish, Iraqi and US intelligence agencies, a senior Iraqi official told AFP in February.
A native of the Iraqi city of Ramadi, Ithawi was accused of holding several positions including Daesh “minister” in charge of religious edicts.
Iraq declared “victory” over Daesh In December after a three-year war against the extremists who once controlled nearly one third of the country as well as swathes of neighboring Syria.
Baghdadi has been pronounced dead on several occasions, but an Iraqi intelligence official said in May that he remained alive in Syrian territory by the Iraqi border.
The Daesh chief called on Muslims to wage “jihad” in a purported new audio recording released last month.