Syrian opposition activists and state television said Monday that government forces had killed a prominent army defector who became a rebel leader.
Rami Abdul-Rahman of the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, and Al-Ikhbariya TV, said Yasser al-Abboud was killed during fighting Monday in the town of Tafas, in the southern province of Daraa.
Al-Abboud was among the first high-ranking Syrian army officials to publicly defect and join the rebels fighting to topple Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime. Most military defectors were low-level conscripts, who formed part of the Free Syrian Army.
Al-Abboud was one of the Army’s founding members.
On Monday, he was leading an attack on Syrian military checkpoints in Tafas, northwest of Daraa, when he was shot down.
“The commander Aboud was martyred as he was leading a group of rebels against regime’s forces,” Reuters quoted a rebel involved in the clashes as saying.
Al-Abboud once commanded the military council of the FSA and led a rebel brigade in Daraa.
Syria’s uprising, now in its third year, began as mostly peaceful protests against Assad but descended into a civil war that has killed 100,000.