Al-Qaeda flag
Al-Qaeda flag Reuters

Unconfirmed reports on Sunday said that the deputy leader of the Al-Qaeda terrorist group, Abu Khayr Al-Masri, was killed in a drone strike in Syria’s Idlib province.

The reports attributed the attack to the United States and claimed it took place near Al-Mastoumeh.

Al-Masri, who was born in Egypt, has been described as the general deputy to Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri. He was arrested in Iran in 2003 before being released in 2015 and moving to Syria.

Last month, an American air strike killed another Al-Qaeda leader in northern Syria, Mohammad Habib Boussadoun al-Tunisi.

Al-Tunisi died in the January 17 strike near Idlib, Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook said.

A U.S.-led coalition is striking Islamic State (ISIS) group targets in Syria, but has also hit leaders from other groups including the Al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front, which has renamed itself Fatah al-Sham after breaking away from Al-Qaeda.

In November, the international coalition killed Abu Afghan al-Masri, a senior Al-Qaeda leader in Syria who previously operated in Afghanistan.

In October, the Pentagon said an air strike near Idlib had targeted a Nusra senior leader, Ahmed Salama Mabrouk, an Egyptian also known by his nom de guerre Abu Faraj.

Also in October, a United States drone strike in Syria killed Al-Qaeda member Haydar Kirkan, who had ties to Al-Qaeda's senior leaders, including former leader Osama bin Laden.