Originally published in The Telegraph.
A senior Isil operative responsible for some of the group’s most notorious atrocities, including the murder of Western journalists and aid workers, has been killed in Syria.
Amr al-Absi led the Mujahideen Shura Council, the first group to raise Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’s (Isil) notorious black flag in July 2012. He was later put in charge of the extremist group’s operations across Aleppo and appointed to a small council of advisers answering directly to its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Kyle Orton, an associate fellow at the Henry Jackson Society, described Absi as a “crucial” figure in Isil’s early development inside Syria, but said the group had grown strong enough to replace him with relative ease.
“I expect [he] will be replaced quickly and with minimal turbulence. Isil has highly-developed institutions and the individuals are largely expendable,” he said.