REUTERS

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Abdul Mohsen Abdallah Ibrahim al-Charekh, a Saudi better known as Sanafi al-Nasr, was killed in an airstrike near the northern Syrian town of Dana, along with another Saudi and a Moroccan member of al-Qaida's local affiliate, known as the Nusra Front, according to the report.

Jihadi activists on social media say al-Charekh was killed by a U.S. drone strike.

Al-Charekh, the alleged leader of al-Qaida's operations in Syria, was one of six men that the U.N. Security Council imposed sanctions on last year. He was also on a list of 85 most-wanted militants by Saudi Arabia who are outside the kingdom. The list, issued in 2009, includes 83 Saudis and two Yemenis.

As reported earlier, Russian warplanes have been carrying out airstrikes in Syria since September 30. A U.S.-led coalition has been targeting the Nusra Front and the Islamic State group for more than a year.