The Al-Qaeda group has confirmed that a US-led coalition drone strike had killed senior leader Abu al-Khayr al-Masri in Syria.

A statement issued by the militant group's Maghreb and Arabian Peninsula branches said he died in a "treacherous" drone strike it described as a "new crime by America and the crusader coalition".

A Hellfire missile fired by a CIA drone killed the Al-Qaeda leader on Sunday while he was riding in a car near the northwestS yrian city of Idlib, a US intelligence official had said yesterday.

Masri, 59, was a member of Al-Qaeda's shura council and second-in-command to its leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The official said Masri had sought refuge in Iran after the September 11 attacks on the United States.

He had been hunted by U.S. forces for almost 19 years.

Syrian army recaptures Palmyra - Kremlin

Meanwhile, the Syrian army backed by Russian jets has completed the recapture of the iconic ancient city of Palmyra from the so-called Islamic State militant group, according to the Kremlin.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu informed President Vladimir Putin of the completion of the operation, spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Russian news agencies. 

A monitoring group following the conflict told AFP that while the jihadists had pulled out of Palmyra Syrian regime forces had yet to move into the entire city. 

"IS has fully withdrawn from Palmyra, but the Syrian army is still clearing neighbourhoods of mines and has not spread out into the whole city yet," Syrian Observatory for Human Rights head Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.

The historic oasis city has traded hands several times during the six-year civil war and become a symbol of IS's wanton destruction of cultural heritage in areas under its control.

The jihadist group first seized Palmyra in May 2015 and began to systematically destroy and loot the UNESCO world heritage site's monuments and temples. IS fighters were driven out in March 2016 but recaptured the city last December.

Bolstered by Russian air strikes and ground troops, Syrian government forces have been battling through the desert for weeks to reach Palmyra.