BEIRUT — A top Syrian rebel leader and head of the most powerful insurgent group in the eastern suburbs of Damascus has been killed in an aerial raid that targeted the group’s headquarters, rebel sources and the Syrian army say.
The death of Zahran Alloush, head of Jaysh al Islam, is a big blow to rebel control of the rural eastern suburban area of Damascus known as al Ghouta, the rebels said.
Defence experts said the disarray among the rebel forces could also consolidate Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s control over the rest of the area.
Several rebel leaders have been killed since Russia began an aerial campaign on September 30 in support of its ally Mr Assad, although Moscow has insisted that it is concentrating its attacks on Islamic State.
The rebel sources said that in the raid Russian planes targeted a secret headquarters of the group, which is the largest rebel faction in the area and has about 15,000 to 20,000 fighters according to Western intelligence.
Jaysh al Islam has effectively been running the administration of the Eastern Ghouta area since 2013, when the group was formed from an amalgamation of scores of rebel brigades.
The rebels said Alloush was killed while holding a meeting with other rebel leaders in the Marj area in al-Ghouta that has been the target of a major Syrian assault in the last few weeks.
Jaysh al Islam was one of the main rebel groups that attended a recent Saudi-backed opposition meeting in Riyadh and will be negotiating with Mr Assad’s government in Geneva.
Regular bedtime beneficial for heart and metabolic health among older adults
KATHMANDU — Sufficient sleep has been proven to help keep the body healthy and the mind sharp. But a new study on sleep patterns has suggested that a regular bedtime and wake time are just as important for heart and metabolic health among older adults too.
Researchers at Duke Health and the Duke Clinical Research Institute, in a study of 1,978 older adults, have found that people with irregular sleep patterns weighed more, had higher blood sugar, higher blood pressure, and a higher projected risk of having a heart attack or stroke within 10 years than those who slept and woke at the same times every day.
The study was published Sept 21 in the journal Scientific Reports.
“From our study, we can’t conclude that sleep irregularity results in health risks, or whether health conditions affect sleep,” said study’s lead author Jessica Lunsford-Avery.
“Perhaps all of these things are impacting each other.”
African-Americans had the most irregular sleep patterns compared to participants who were white, Chinese-American or Hispanic, the data showed.
Still, the data suggest tracking sleep regularity could help identify people at risk of disease, and where health disparities may impact specific groups.
Irregular sleepers were also more likely to report depression and stress than regular sleepers, both of which are tied to heart health.Follow @gorkhapost