A roadside bombing on Thursday killed a senior Syrian cleric who played a key role in government deals with rebel fighters, according to Syrian state media and a government website.

Iran Press/Middle East: The explosion that killed Damascus Mufti Mohammed Adnan Afiouni took place in Qudsaya, west of the Syrian capital. It was unknown who planted the roadside bomb, and no group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.

The cleric was first reported wounded and then declared dead soon after.

Syria’s ministry of religious endowment, or Awqaf, announced Afiouni’s death, calling it a terrorist act. 

Afiouni had been a key figure in the government’s so-called reconciliation deals with rebels and opposition-held areas.

He was one of the mediators of the 2016 deal under which rebel fighters in Daraya, a key town in Damascus suburbs, surrendered after a four-year grueling siege and military campaign. The rebel fighters and remaining residents were evacuated to the northwestern province of Idlib, and government forces entered the destroyed town in 2016.

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