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Syrian Airstrike Kills IS Commander

Raqqa, Syria

The Syrian army has killed an Islamic State commander in an airstrike in central Syria that killed more than two dozen members of the ultra-hardline group, a monitoring group said on Saturday.

The Islamic State group's commander was identified as one of the group's self-declared provincial governors by Syrian state media and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which tracks the war using sources on the ground.

IS group supporters circulated a statement on Twitter announcing the "martyrdom" of the commander, Deeb Hedijan al-Otaibi, together with photos showing him dead and alive.

Otaibi was also identified as Abi Ammar al-Jazrawi, likely to be his nom de guerre.

The Observatory said a total of 26 IS group militants were killed in the air strike near the town of Hamadi Omar, some 50 km (30 miles) southwest of the city of Hama.

Syrian state media said a convoy of dozens of military vehicles had also been destroyed in the airstrike.

Rami Abdulrahman, who runs the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said it was not clear if the air strike had been launched on Friday or Saturday.

A U.S.-led alliance that is bombing Islamic State in both Syria and Iraq has rejected the idea of partnering with President Bashar al-Assad in the fight against the group, describing him as part of the problem.