Syrian rebel leader dies in Turkish hospital as regime forces gain ground
Syrian rebel leader Abdelqader Saleh died Monday after he was wounded from regime force attacks, according to Reuters.
Saleh, the head of the Islamist al-Tawhid Brigades, a rebel group backed by Qatar, died in a Turkish hospital from wounds incurred Thursday when regime forces raided the rebels' group meeting. The government troops reportedly killed another rebel commander on the spot, according to the report.
Saleh's death represents a significant "blow to the armed opposition" in their fight against President Bashar al-Assad, the latter who seems to be gaining ground against the rebel forces in recent weeks. Assad's forces have particularly taken advantage of using divides between rebel groups to gain ground in the war. Shiite Hezbollah fighters from Lebanon have also supported the regime troops' efforts.
However, rebel groups are starting to respond to Assad's tactics, with the Tawhid brigades in conjunction with al-Nusra Front, another rebel group, declaring an emergency and calling on all fighters to "head to the fronts." The late Saleh, in particular, was involved in mobilizing dozens of rebel brigades under the Tawhid banner to counteract regime forces.
Before the war, Saleh was a merchant from Mareh, a town north of Aleppo.
In related news from Syria, more than thirty one soldiers were killed Sunday in the government-controlled town of Harasta, located on the outskirts of the capital, after a bomb struck a government building.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, "Only the night staff were on duty when the explosion occurred. If the bomb had gone off an hour before, there could have been up to 200 dead."
Syrian regime fighters also launched airstrikes on the village of Qara near the Lebanese border earlier Sunday.