Former Syrian rebel commander killed in Istanbul

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Colonel Ismail Omeir was slain by his nephew in an apolitical murder, opposition sources say

Jan 2, 2020

January 2, 2020

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A former Syrian rebel commander was killed by a relative in Istanbul this week, the latest of several opposition figures slain in Turkey in recent years.

Ismail Omeir, 52, was stabbed at his home on Tuesday in front of his wife and daughter. Turkish authorities have arrested his 30-year-old nephew, Abdulkader, for the murder, opposition sources and Turkish media said.

Omeir was a colonel in the Syrian air force before he defected in 2012 over President Bashar Al Assad's brutal crackdown on protests against his regime.

Omeir later headed the Deir Ezzour Military Council in eastern Syria which was part of the Free Syrian Army, the main rebel alliance that is now almost defunct.

Like other former officers who joined the Syrian revolt, Omeir was sidelined as militants began dominating the rebel brigades in 2013.

He had sought to rein in his nephew, who is known for involvement in drugs and criminal activity, an opposition figure close to Omeir told The National.

In 2017, Syrian activist Orouba Barakat and her daughter Halla were killed in Istanbul after a dispute with a relative over money.

Naji Al Jarf, a prominent civil figure who was had campaigned against the regime and against ISIS was assassinated in 2015 in Gaziantep. His friends blamed ISIS for the killing.

One of the most high-profile deaths was that of James Le Mesurier, the British founder of the While Helmets civil defence group which operates in rebel areas of Syria.

Turkish media had suggested that his death from a fall from his flat in Istanbul in November was suicide.

Updated: January 2, 2020 05:55 PM

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