Syrian state-run TV reported Friday the leader of a powerful al-Qaida-linked rebel group has been killed. It's a claim that if confirmed would be a huge blow to fighters trying to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

But soon after, conflicting reports began to emerge. Syrian state television did not give any details, except to say the head of Jabhat al-Nusra, Abu Mohammad al-Golani, had been killed in the coastal province of Latakia.

Later Friday, it removed the report from its website without explanation.

Other reports also emerged denying that al-Golani was dead.

The extremist group, also known as Nusra Front, is on a U.S. State Department list of terrorist organizations. The group has emerged as one of the most effective among rebel groups fighting Assad.
Al-Golani's death would be a huge blow to rebels who have been fragmented and outgunned by Assad's forces.

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